The Coming Day of the Lord

by Mike Ratliff

1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:1-5 ESV)

When I preached in a small Baptist Church in northern Missouri several weeks ago the title of my sermon was, “Are you ready to meet God?” The main theme of that sermon was who Jesus Christ really is and what He has done to redeem His people from the wrath to come. Well, God’s wrath is coming. His wrath burns against all sin. Only those who bear the mark of His Son will be rescued. I have been part of some discussions lately where we all agree to an extent that the growing apostasy in the Church seems to be a precursor for the soon return of our Lord. Since the Church seems to have abandoned its mission to a large degree, and instead, has become Compromised with the World and its ways, then we see only two alternatives. Either God will send another Reformation / Revival / Restoration or this Church we see now is the beginnings of the apostate church similar to the Church of Laodicia.

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:14-22 ESV)

I believe that we are experiencing a blend of the two. Yes, much of the Church in our time is Compromised, but there are also growing numbers of God’s people being drawn out of it into the truth just as I was. I receive countless numbers of emails and comments on this blog from people who are where I was 3 or 4 years ago in being drawn from darkness into the light. That is joyous to this Christian! Praise the Lord for He is doing this. Sadly, however, those still in darkness in these churches can be quite hostile to this movement. Also, there are those who have abandoned orthodoxy completely and gone after what is “cool” or “new” or “whatever” as long as it isn’t tainted with orthodoxy. The hostility from these fellows against the truth is also quite severe.

Those drawn from the darkness into the light have one thing in common. They are grounded in the Word of God. They love the truth while standing and walking in it by the power of the Holy Spirit. This brings conflicts from those in darkness, but it doesn’t matter. Those in darkness are tied to their religiosity as if that is what saves them. Those in the light are religious, but only as an expression of their love and faith and obedience. These are being set apart by God as a Remnant. Why? God knows and we must simply obey and trust Him in all things. Jesus is coming back. Are we ready?

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)

Who is “the least of these my brothers” that Jesus is referring to here? This is referring to other disciples. The sheep on His right are commended for receiving and caring for “the least of these my brothers.” Who are Jesus’ brothers? Aren’t they His disciples? We see that in Ephesians 1 that those God saves are predestined to be Christ’s brothers. Therefore, Christians must be kind and caring to all, but especially other believers. This is a mark of genuineness. On the other hand, those who are on Jesus’ left think they are Christians, but they do not receive and care for “the least of these my brothers.” Why? This proves their disingenuousness.

The more I write about theological issues and Church issues and obedience issues the more I find that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is very loving or caring to those who speak the truth from God’s Word. In this last week I have been called a fascist, a liar, evil, satanic, and the Devil incarnate. Why? I write what the Bible says and demand that those who don’t like what I write respond via scripture instead of invective and ad hominum. None of these people are willing to do this. Instead, they throw fits of rage and will not participate. What does this tell us that those who oppose what the Bible says, are claiming to be God’s people while reviling those who proclaim the truth as liars who twist scripture? They treat them as if they are satanic and evil. Aren’t we coming to the end of these last days? Are we ready to meet God? I believe we shall behold our Lord very soon.

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55 thoughts on “The Coming Day of the Lord

  1. Hello Mike,

    Good topic for a post (i.e. end time church). According to scripture, how do you tell the difference between the real and apostate church, because Jesus taught that false prophets would arise with doctrine so close to the truth that if it were possible, it should decive the very elect (Mark 14:22)?Doesn’t the bible speaks of a falling away (apostasy) in the end time and not a great gathering (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV)? I believe the solution to discerning the true church movement from the apostate church movement can be understood from two positions. Biblical and Naturally.

    Biblically speaking, at the end times, the Bible doesn’t prophecy of the true church as a great unified global end time church that has subdued the world (Kingdom / Dominion theology) for Jesus and have it ready to present to him at his coming. As plainly taught in scripture, it is Jesus that smites the nations at his return, NOT THE CHURCH!

    And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of HIS mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it HE SHOULD SMITE THE NATIONS: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Revelation 19:14,15 KJV).

    The saints come with Jesus when he returns to earth and are not on earth wating for him (Jude 14 KJV). I have always understood that the true church was gathered together to be with him seven years earlier.

    Logicaly speaking, if the elect church are just a remanent in the last days because of a falling away (apostasy) (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV), and the apostate church is a huge global one that subdues the earth, then logicaly you could discern the true church from from the false church by sheer size couldn’t you?.

    Mike, I have a question? Do you think Jesus is coming back after a unified Global church, or a scattered elect?!!

    A wise man once said: “One may build a church, but it will not be Christ’s church”.

  2. How true. Almost everyday at work (in the Air Force) I am ridiculed and ‘rebuked’ by those who claim the Name of our Lord. I preach the Word, I bring my Bible to work (an offense in the Military, including prostelytizing, but what can man do to me?) and I read from it. I’m geared with God’s Armor everyday, and His Sword, the Word. And yet…I am decried and defamed by those who would claim the Name of Him who died for us. They say “Why is everything in the world evil to you! What’s wrong with going to the bar? What’s wrong with drinking in Church? What’s wrong with late nights and crazy parties? Why is Islam Satanic? Why can’t Mormons be Christians? They say they are afterall! So what if Jesus had a wife? We don’t need to read and study The Bible. Jesus isn’t REALLY The Word of God, that’s dumb. I believe good people can be saved, they don’t need Jesus! The ONLY Way? Come on now! All other religions false? That’s crazy. You’re so narrowminded! So proud! Evolution fits in to the Bible, why don’t you trust the scientists, are you a scientist? Why shouldn’t we trust the culmative knowledge of men? Who are you to judge me? No, I think you’re judging me! Well fine, you’re using the Bible to judge me! I don’t care if you think it’s wrong to disagree with the Bible and call myself a Christian! God didn’t choose me, I can choose Him or reject Him, that’s my decision, my choice. God just wants me to be happy, that makes Him happy!” And the list goes on and on. It seems that so few have ‘ears to hear’ in these times. We’re living in an age where those who think they are Christians are not really at all, because they’ve been hardened to the real Gospel because they’ve had a half-one (read: False) preached to them all their lives. And so they persecute those who have the Word hidden in their hearts.

    “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:16

    It’s painful and I hear you brother, and God hears our cries for mercy, and He knows we look forward to His coming. Soon I pray, soon. There is still much work to be done though in the meantime!

    Praise God.

    Love,

    Joe C.

  3. Frank,

    I honestly believe that it be more like a scattered elect. If it happened now at least I see it that way. I know not who the saved elect really are, but I suspect that in those big organized churches that the numbers of genuine believers in them would be a small percentage of the whole. Our Christian leaders have a lot to answer for.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  4. Joe C.,

    Amen brother. Yes, there is a lot a work to be done and I believe that is why God has drawn out His people like this. Not one of those I have met who has been awakened like that wants anything to do with dead religiosity or compromise for peace’s sake. You hang in there as well brother!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  5. Matthew 7 vs 13 ” Enter by the narrow gate: for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”
    Mike,
    Great and powerful message. The members were blessed. I was.
    Deborah

  6. Dear Mike,

    I love you for your strong love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for singing out the truth in a time when truth is not heard very much.

    Dear Frank,

    I too always thought that the church was gathered 7 years before the 2nd coming. Through the past year of intense bible study and prayer, with no references or commentaries, only the Word of God and prayer, I no longer believe in a pretribulation gathering. I will leave you with some scriptures to ponder. These are not the only ones that annointed my eyes with salve but they are intense and worth your time to read and pray over.

    Daniel 9:27 speaks of the 7 years and how the anti-christ will break the covenant at the 3 1/2 year mark and set up the abomination that makes desolation.

    Revelation 13 speaks of the beast having authority to conquer the saints for 42 months (3 1/2years which is the 2nd half of the 7 years) and the false prophet makes them take the anti-christs mark during this last half of the 7 years.

    I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 speaks of the dead in Christ being raised when He comes back and makes it very clear that those who are alive and remain will in no way go up before the dead are raised. First comes the resurrection of the dead and then the catching up or rapture of the living.

    2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12 Is a very clear warning that our gathering together to the Lord (rapture or resurrection) will not happen until after the falling away and the man of sin is revealed. As you can see by reading the Daniel passage above, the man of sin is not revealed until the middle of the 7 years. Jesus refers to this Daniel passage in Matthew 24 with very clear warnings.

    Revelation 20: 4-6 Talks about the tribulation saints who have been beheaded for not taking the mark and for the Word of God. They come to life in the first resurrection and reign with Jesus during the millenium. Twice we are told they are raised at the first resurrection. As you read the above passage in 1Thessalonians 4 you will notice that those who are raptured will not go before the dead are resurrected. If the tribulation martyrs who die for not taking the mark of the beast (which does not go into effect until the second half of the 7 years) are part of the first resurrection then the rapture cannot and will not happen until after those saints have died and have been raised. Therefore we will be here if we are still alive until the later part of the tribulation. In fact it is Jesus 2nd coming that initiates the resurrection and then the rapture and destroys the anti-christ with is glorious appearing so that pretty much puts it at the last day or at least last day of this age.

    I hope these verses help you in your continuing walk with our Savior Jesus Christ. Please know that my comments are not meant to spark debate. They are meant as a blessing to you and those who might read the Holy Words of the Bible and read Jesus’s letters to the seven churches and receive His blessings and guidance.

    Love in the Lord,
    Rachel

  7. I think we will have persecution in this coutry before Christ comes back. Visiting other believers in prison in restricted nation can cause a person their freedom because they then know the person visiting must be a Christian and they often times arrest them. To visit someone in prison then isn’t just taking time out of your schedule…it is truly an act of love a laying down of their life. If they have a family, then they are truly seeking to follow Christ above even their own family by visiting their brothers and sisters in prison. This happens all the time in persecuted lands! I pray we get prepared via Bible study and prayer!

  8. Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord! Jesus life on earth is a great example for us. He lived the life he preached and by multitudes he was rejected! Why..because men love darkness rather than light! My sincere prayer is that we as confessing believers continue in the light and through him we will be found blameless in our spirit, soul and body until the coming of our Lord and Saviour..Jesus Christ! Come Lord Jesus..Come!

  9. Hello Rachel,

    I also don’t get my doctrine from commentaries either, but from my own personal Bible studies. I probably came to my pre-tribulation belief from studying totally different scriptures that everyone else uses when discussing the “redemption of the body” (i.e. 1 Thess 4:13-18). Let me explain.

    Many refer to the end times as “the tribulation”. I approach it from the term “day of wrath” found in Revelation 6:17. In Revelations, after Jesus finishes speaking to the angels of the seven churches in chapter 3, the word “church” is not spoken of again until everything is fulfilled. In Revelation chapters 4,5,6 the scene changes from earth to what is going on in Heaven. At the end of chapter 6, we find this troubling period of time on the earth referred to as the “day of wrath”.

    For the great day of his wrath IS COME; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:17)

    The Bible doesn’t say whether these seals of judgment of chapter 6 are opened over a period of days or all on the first day, but regardless the Bible says, “the day of wrath is come”. Herein lies a strong argument for pre-tribulation belief. Do Christians go through the “day of wrath” which is plainly spoken of as starting sometime at the beginning of the tribulation? The Bible says:

    For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us FROM THE WRATH TO COME (1 Thessalonians 1:9,10 KJV).

    I have also heard of the post-tribulation veiw that the church is like Noah, who was protected by God through the judgment, but Jesus’ own words refute this doctrine and at the same time make the pre-tribulation doctrine even stronger.

    But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were BEFORE the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:37-39 KJV).

    Jesus said that His coming was as the days of Noah, BEFORE the flood! Jesus was using the flood in this discourse to describe the “tribulation” and judgment in the end time.

    In 1 Thessolonians 4:17, it says that the church meets Jesus in the clouds, not on the Temple Mount.

    Thank you for those verses Rachal and I will go and study them in the context you presented. I would really love to hear your understanding of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb one day. Maybe Mike could do a post on that subject also.

  10. “In this last week I have been called a fascist, a liar, evil, satanic, and the Devil incarnate.”

    Your wife has testified that at least not ALL those things are true. I think a better description of Mike Ratliff would be, “an undeserving sinner, plucked from the fire by the grace of God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.

    I’m still mulling over the fascist one, there are some similarities!

  11. Rick,

    I like your description much better. The battle against my naturally fascist nature has become quite severe. Please pray for me. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  12. Dear Frank,
    Thank you for your thoughts and scriptures. I absolutely agree with you that the Lord Jesus Himself comes back at Revelation 6 at the 6th seal. I also see Him coming for the church in Revelation 11 at the seventh trumpet and again in Revekation 16 when He comes like a thief. I have found that these seals, trumpets and bowls are not necessarily a group of events followed by another group of events and then followed by another group of events. They lay on top of each other on the same time line.

    I am glad you brought up Revelation 6:17 as a point on that time line. If you will back up a few verses to 6:12 and read up to verse 17 and then reference a couple of other passages you might find them thought provoking. I will sum it up and then you can reference the verses verbatim due to space. Revelation 6:6-14 talks about the sun turning black, the moon turning blood red and the stars dropping. This is BEFORE the day of wrath is mentioned in verse 17. Then notice in Joel 2:31 “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” So we can clearly see that these things happen before the wrath or day of the Lord occur. Then turn to Matthew 24:29-31. Jesus has been talking about the tribulation and the anti-christ and Jesus Himself says: “Immediately AFTER the distress of those days -the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.- AT THAT TIME the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”

    So what I read is tribulation and distress FOLLOWED by sun turned to darkness, moon to blood red, stars falling, THEN the Lord comes for His elect and also to dole out His wrath and judgement. It is very clear from the scripture in my previous post that the dead will not rise before Jesus 2nd coming. His coming initiates the resurrection. The resurrection precedes the rapture.

    One last set if verses that you might consider is John 17. Jesus is praying before His death. He prays for us, you and me, and all of the saints from then until the end. John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” The words used for protect (or keep from in some translations) mean to protect from within according to Strongs Concordence.

    I am glad to hear that you read the scriptures for yourself and do not rely on men to teach you but on the Holy Spirit as He guides us into all truth. I love that we can both discuss the scripture we have been given from our Lord in and edifying manner, to build each other up.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  13. Frank,
    I wanted to give you an evidence of the seals, trumpets, and bowls not being so much sequential as they are on top of each other on the same time line. Only one example I promise! The 6th seal you mentioned is an example so I will use that one. Revelation 6:14 says “….and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” Then later when talking about the bowl judgments the seventh bowl is poured out. Revelation 16:20 says “Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.” These events, the leveling of the mountains and the islands fleeing away are NOT happening TWICE but are the SAME event. Obviously the bowls are the most severe judgements. Man could not live very long with no water supply which means water turning into blood must happen near the very end before Jesus comes to kill with His sword. If this last bowl judgement is right before Jesus comes and it is the same event as the 6th seal then Jesus comes at the very end of the sixthseal/seventh bowl to deliver us from what I believe is the eternal wrath of hell (because we are no longer condemned but have passed from death unto life). This is just one example proving that “these groups of events” are not necessarily sequential. The old testament (mainly the prophets but not always) really helps to find where these events happen on the time line. I won’t say anymore, if you want to know more you will seek it and find it.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Rachel

  14. Whenever He returns, and He will, the substantive issue is will you be ready (for you know not when the Son of Man will return). Pre-post-mid-or whatever, I can share Scripture and be edified. What I believe will happen and is happening is that many movements will so downplay His return and the accompanying judgments that they soon will spiritualize His return as invisible and clandestine. With those people we should break fellowship!

  15. Rick,

    Amen, Yes, He is returning and all I can really do is be ready and preach and teach and write in a way that helps everyone who has ears to hear to be ready. His return will be real, not hidden or spiritualized in such a way that we could miss it. All will see Him. I for one cannot wait to behold Him!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  16. Regarding this issue, I believe the same way Rachel does. ( I did not know any other view existed until after I was a believer for 15 years.) But whatever view is correct, Jesus is coming back. We are to comfort one another with these words. I pray we are all ready.

  17. Loretta,

    Yes, Jesus is coming back and that is the one solid fact in this no matter what our view.

    ps. I see your website is now linked to your name. Way to go!!

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  18. Amen to being ready and being found in His will when He comes. I too long for His coming and can hardly wait to see Him!

    Loretta, wow, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who was raised post-trib before. Post- trib was the teaching view up until the last 180 years but now most people seem to be pre-trib. I was raised pre-trib and had never heard of post-trib. I changed my view from reading the bible alone and then later on discovered that post-trib was the original teaching. I had no idea about this post- trib teaching and was afraid to discuss it with anyone at first for fear that they would think I was some sort of heretic ( I am no longer afraid to discuss truth). But I kept coming upon verse after verse that would reaffirm the post-trib view and make it solid without question. I cried out to the Lord to just know the truth and that’s when the flood gate of verses really kept hitting me, without looking for them either. Later I researched it and found out about the teaching of the early church being post-trib. What’s funny is that Irenaeus who came up with the word heresy listed several things that identify the true church, two being they look for the SAME advent of the Lord and the SAME salvation of the soul and body. Irenaeus was post-trib. (Irenaeus was the disciple of Polycarp who was the disciple of John the Aposte of Jesus Christ). Both Irenaeus and Polycarp were martyred for their testimony of Jesus. You can read about them in Fox’s book of Martyrs. Any way, I want to make it clear that I am not saying that anyone who is not post-trib is not a brother. A fellow believer in Christ will know the truth in time, whether in this life on earth or at the resurrection. However, I disagree with those who say it is not an important point or that it doesn’t matter when Jesus returns. Jesus would not have spoken about it or have given the prophets and apostles insight into His return and our gathering to Him if it were not important. Jesus would not have warned us to be ready if it were not of extreme importance. He would not have warned us to be watching for Him if we were not going to be here to see Him. He would only give so many warnings if it were important to make sure we were prepared. How do we prepare? We make sure our roots go down deep and that we do not fall away when tribulation comes. We make sure we know our Lord by reading His own words not words of others. I would also suggest reading Fox’s Book of Martyrs. It is very encouraging, seeing that my brothers before me endured to the end and reading their testimonies as they were brutally tortured and did not deny our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We may be the ones who go through far worse than they did. If we are not spiritually and mentally prepared we may realize too late that we have been deceived and are in great tribulation. Many will fall away from the faith they now profess. We must prepare and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The Lord is sovreign, those who are His will not be deceived. So I say rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!

  19. Hello Rachel,

    You said: “2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12 Is a very clear warning that our gathering together to the Lord (rapture or resurrection) will not happen until after the falling away and the man of sin is revealed”.

    I just started to study the verses that you presented. Because of this comment, I have hit a bump in your doctrine that I can’t seem to get past (2 Thessalonians 2:7) to validate the rest of it. Maybe Loretta can share some insight also. Who is the one that “hinders” the Wicked One that has to be “taken out of the way”?

    For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let (hinder), UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT of the way. AND THEN SHALL THAT WICKED ONE BE REVEALED, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:7,8 KJV).

    I have heard two different veiws on this verse. Neither one could support a post-trib doctrine.
    If the “one who hinders” is the Holy Ghost and He is taken out of the way and the church is still left, then there goes the churches power for ministry.

    If the “one who hinders” is the church and it is taken out of the way, then that would also confirm the pre-tribulation doctrine. Who do you think this verse is talking about when it says “the one who hinders the Wicked One from being revealed”? For the post-tribulation doctrine to be correct, this verse cannot be talking about the church or the Holy Ghost because according to the post-tribulation veiw, the church goes thru the tribulation.

    Since the Bible speaks of conversions during the tribulation, and that would take the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, then I have always understood that it was the true church that was hindering the Wicked One today and it is the true church that must be taken out of the way.

    I am also wondering what the purpose of the 144,000 Jews (Rev 7:4-8) and the angel (Rev 14:6 ) sent to proclaim the everlasting Gospel if the true church is still on earth during the tribulation. I always thought that the saints that were converted during the tribulation was by the message of the angel and the 144,000, not the church.

    I will continue to research your scripture, but I cannot exclude all the other scriptures either. I may need your help again when I get to studying the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and how that fits into the post-tribulation doctrine. I am by no means above correction if I am wrong. Mike picks some really good posts for discussion doesn’t he.

    Who is Irenaus and Polycarp?

  20. Grace and peace to you all.

    Rachel, I am a post-trib believer and many of my friends are. Your explanation about the post-trib position we take was very good.

    Mike – great web site with good solid material.

    P. S. Iraeneus and Polycarp – early church fathers. Go to Ccel.org where their writings are posted. It is a college library available to the public. They were post-trib.

    The love of Christ be with you,

    Helen

  21. Hi Rachel, I was not raised post trib, because I was not raised anything. Actually I was raised Roman Catholic, and I got saved at the age of 17 solely by reading the gospel in a paperback bible someone anonymously mailed to me. I left the RCC and started going to a nondenom church that did not teach anything (not much anyway) on this- certainly no theological terms. I did not know any of the terms or views. On my own, reading the bible, all those years, I just read and assumed the bible was teaching that Jesus would come back after the tribulation, which was a work of evil (persecution) of satan against God and His people, and that Jesus would raise us and come for us on the last day, which was the day of His coming, (after the trib)which was right before He would execute wrath and judgment on the unbelieving world who hates Jesus and kills those who love Him and are loyal to Him. I think the difference is, some think that the tribulation means God’s wrath. That’s why they say God must get us out before He pours out His wrath. Yes, we are not appointed to wrath. But some believe the tribulation means trouble, pressure and persecution (death) from the men of the world and from satan. So people who think Jesus will come sometime (that we don’t know)during the trib, also believe He is coming before God’s wrath. This is what I believe. In 2000 LB came out, and I honestly had no idea that view existed, and I had been a believer 15 years at that point. I was shocked as I sheepishly interviewed my christian friends, that everybody and their brother believed this view (pre)that I never even heard about. Since then (we are in a more solid church now) I have been wondering, “what other doctrines don’t I know anything about?” So I am now really interested in learning some doctrine. Just want to say that I do not know if my view (pre wrath) is correct. I honestly do not know. But I am very excited knowing that Jesus is coming back just like He promised. The point is that we know He is coming, whatever happens we should trust Him and not be afraid, and wait for Him in worship, love, faithfulness, prayer and faith. “He will come”. He is faithful.

    yes I have read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and have told the stories to my children also. Very challenging and inspiring.

  22. Hello Frank,

    What a great question and one that I came across as well. Being pre-trib I was taught that the Holy Spirit was the one who was removed. That is why the church would be removed prior to the tribulation because He indwelled the individual church members so they would be removed with Him. Well there is a problem with this because scripture directly refutes this claim. First Jesus says at the end of Matthew 28:20 “And surely I am with you always, to the VERY END OF THE AGE.” Our dear savior would not abandon His little lambs at the darkest hour the earth will ever know. He would not take away our comforter at our bleakest hour. He will comfort us. Then in Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” When is that day of redemption? It is at the resurrection when Jesus comes first for the dead in Christ and almost simulateously for those who are alive and remain. So the Holy Spirit is still sealing us until that day of redemption. Most importantly is Romans 8:9 “If any one does NOT have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Well we know for sure that there will be people who come to the Lord during the tribulation. The tribulation saints are part of the first resurrection which means they are part of those who are His (Christ’s) at His coming. They are definately sealed with the Holy Spirit so He is here during the tribulation. Now, could He be here and just no longer hold back the power of Satan in order that Gods divine plan might be fulfilled. Yes. However there is another possiblity that I believe.

    In Revelation 13:7 in reference to the anti-christ “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” So the saints (who must be sealed with the Holy Spirit ) are still on the earth but power (which is given by God alone) is given to the beast to overcome them. So the Holy Spirit could be being submissive to the Father . OR , and this is what I believe, Daniel 12:1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people–everyone whose name is written in the book–will be delivered.” Michael the archangel will arise or ascend into heaven. We read earlier in Daniel that Michael fights to protect the people of God. Some might say that Michael only protects the Jews but this is not true because the verse goes on to clarify who “your people” are. “Your people” is everyone whose name is written in the book. If we are Christ’s then our name was written in the book before the foundation of the world. Either way (whether the Holy Spirit OR Michael ), the power of the Holy people, WHO ARE STILL ON THE EARTH, is broken. The TRUE CHURCH are those who ARE SEALED with the Holy Spirit. If they are NOT SEALED with the Holy Spirit, they are NOT THE TRUE CHURCH.

    The 144,000 are sealed Jews. These Jews must be sealed before certain judgments can be doled out. Why must they be sealed? For protection. They are Jews, they are not sealed with the Holy Spirit who protects us from this wrathful judgment which is meant for the ungodly. This seal protects them as the Holy Spirit protects us. These Jews are not Christians. How could a Jew who is not sealed with the Holy Spirit, (as are all those who are Christ’s) evangelize anyone else? How can they introduce Jesus Christ to someone else when they do not know Him yet? If they knew Jesus, they would become Christians (neither Jew nor Gentile) and cease to be Jews. God the Father is sealing them and protecting them, setting them aside as first fruits for Himself and for Jesus. Revelation 14:4 “….They were purchased from among men and offerd as first fruits to God and the Lamb.”

    The angel with the eternal gospel. God is merciful and kind, even up until the last day men have an opportunity to repent which is evidenced by God’s graciousness in providing the gospel in a way for everyone to hear and be warned even in a time when many in the church are hidden away and when the Word of God will be scarce. Amos 8:11-12 “The days are coming, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine through the land–not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” We serve a bountiful, merciful, God who is long on patience and this will prove on the day of judgment that the unregenerate still had opportunity but rejected His mercy.

    John the Apostle of Jesus who saw and wrote the Revelation of Jesus Christ disicpled a man named Polycarp. Back then before the written word (66 books in one) the gospel and church teaching was handed down orally. Polycarp was taught orally by John. Polycarp then discipled Irenaeus. Both of these men were martyred for their testimony of Jesus. (You can read some about them in Fox’s book of martyrs or you could google them.) John directly taught Polycarp who directly taught Irenaeus. So either Polycarp, who was taught by John, got it wrong or right. Polycarp then taught it to Irenaeus. If Johns’ first disciple couldn’t even get it right talking directly to the apostle who had the revelation and reading his book , then how can we get it right? Saying this I want to make my self very clear, I believe in a post-trib rapture from scripture alone, not because of Polycarp or Irenaeus. But, after having already come to this conclusion through scripture and prayer it was comforting to then learn that John the apostles’ direct disciple and his direct disciple were post-trib .

    I am so glad to hear you say that you cannot “exclude all the other scriptures either.” That is very wise. All scripture is truth. If at first it seems that one verse contradicts another, I know that I just don’t know enough yet to see how they are reconciled. With sincere prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are always led to the truth. God rewards those who seek Him dilegently with their whole heart.

    Yes, Mike has some great topics up for discussion!! I love to meet with other brothers and sisters in Christ to discuss like we are doing. Iron sharpens iron! I learn so much and it makes my faith grow stronger.

    Love your sister in Christ
    Rachel

  23. Hello Loretta,

    Thank you for your beautiful testimony. God truly works in mysterious ways. I was pre-trib, then mid-trib, then pre-wrath and finally post-trib. I was pre-trib for about 32 years and then then over a period of months went through each stage with verses prompting me to each along the way until I could only see post-trib as the final truth of all. I believe that post-trib and pre-wrath are almost identical. I believe that the wrath of God will be poured out when Jesus comes in judgement and fire which is the last day. I also believe we are resurrected and raptured when Jesus comes. Pre-trib likes to make Jesus’s coming into two comings. One a secret and the other open for everyone to see. Here are some verses that showed me that there was one coming which brings both judgment and redemption.
    Hebrews 9:26-27 “….and He will appear a SECOND time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
    Isaiah 11:11 “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a SECOND time to reclaim the remanant that is left of his people…..”
    2 Peter 2:9 “if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials AND to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, WHILE continuing their punishment.”
    2 Thessalonians 1: 6-10 “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you AND GIVE RELIEF to you who are troubled as well. THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN THE LORD JESUS IS REVEALED FROM HEAVEN IN BLAZING FIRE with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power ON THE DAY HE COMES TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS HOLY PEOPLE and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” So, relief is given to those who are being persecuted and punishment is doled out to the unbelieving on the SAME day.
    Malachi 4:1-3 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord Almighty. Not a root or a branch will be left to them. BUT for you who revere my name, the sun of righteiouness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of you feet ON THE DAY WHEN I DO THESE THINGS, says the Lord Almighty.” This verse proves that the Lord can and will bring wrath on the unbelieving while sparing those who revere His name ON THE SAME DAY.
    Act 3:21 “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everythng, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” When Jesus comes, it won’t be a secret 2nd coming- a seven year waiting period- and then a 3rd return for eveyone to see Him. He cannot come UNTIL he comes to restore everything. We are not glorified and restored until the resurrection and change at the rapture.

    I think we believe very similarly. I believe that we are protected from His wrath on the ungodly from within the storm. Just like the greek words for “keep from” used in Revelation 3:10 to the church of Philadelphia and used by Jesus in John 17:15. Those words “keep from” are translated from the greek words which mean to “protect from inside of”.

    It sounds to me like you are very prepared and will be. You seek out the scriptures on your own and you know the history of your brothers before you. You know your Lord.

    Love in our Savior, Jesus Christ
    Rachel

  24. Helen,

    Thank you for you kindness. It is always comforting to meet a Christian who is post-trib. Besides my husband, I don’t know any in person. It was a leap of faith to share post-trib with friends who were not. I was convicted to do so however, so I have and will continue. Some friends have opened up to the idea of it now but I would not say the are post-trib. They are all dear Christians and I do believe that those who are really interested in the resurrection and Jesus’ return will study diligently and come to this realization in time. My heart is led to give them the information so they are warned and have the chance to be prepared. Thank you for posting. It is so encouraging to hear from you.

    Love In Christ
    Rachel

  25. Mike,

    Wow! That is so great! Thanks for saying it out loud so to speak. Your comments back on Slice and your work here have always been such an encouragement to me. Have you written anything about this subject yet? I am currently putting a book together, mainly scriptures, because it has become such a passion in me that I feel led to do so. This has become a lost teaching over the last 2 centuries and I believe the current rapture theories are preparing us all for the great delusion. While I know that those who are Christs will not be deceived, I believe that our faith is to be active and helping to prepare our brothers for this coming time is one way I hope to serve the Lord. Thank you.

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Rachel

  26. Rachel,

    No, I have not planned on writing a book on eschatology. While I am post-trib, I am not sure whether I am a-mil or post-mil. They are very similar with one saying there is no millennium and the other saying there is. What about you?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  27. Mike,

    That is such a huge question. I wrote back and foth with an a-mil for a while. According to him, a-mils do believe in a millenium but believe it is going on right now.

    As for me, I look to Revelation 20 which foretells of a one thousand year reign 6 times. That is positive proof of a millenium. As to the timing of this millenium, it is WHILE satan is bound 20:2-3 “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE ENDED.” When is satan bound? At the beginning of the millenium. What is a sign of the beginning of the millenium? Revelation 20:4-5 “….They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. THIS IS THE FIRST RESURRECTION. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ AND WILL REIGN WITH HIM FOR A THOUSAND YEARS.” So the first resurrection happens BEFORE the millenium. When does the resurrection happen? The resurrection happens when Jesus comes at His 2nd coming. So what I see is Jesus comes, resurrection, satan bound for a thousand years while those resurrected reign with Christ and are his priests. At the end of the thousand years, satan is released for a short period of time Revelation 20:3 “After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

    So, Jesus comes back, we are resurrected or changed, we are priests and reign with Christ for 1000 years while satan is bound. Satan is then released and deceives the nations. Mens hearts are revealed as sinful when they reject the Lord and this time, when they come to attack Jerusalem they are consumed with fire from heaven. Revelation 20:9-10 “They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet HAD been thrown….” THIS IS IMPORTANT. When are the beast and false prophet thrown into the lake of fire, Revelation 19 shows they are captured when Jesus comes on His horse with his army and when he is killing everyone with His sword (NOT FIRE FROM HEAVEN). Also in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 “and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and DESTROY BY THE SPLENDOR OF HIS COMING.” This would be before the thousand years at the second coming. This in an important gap of time.

    ( Amils will try to tell you that the millenium is currently in progress, yet they will throw out scriptures talking about characteristics distinct to the millenium that differentiate it from the eternal kingdom. These characteristics are found sprinkeled throughout the old testament. I fear a-mils may become confused when the false prophet calls down fire from heaven on behalf of the anti-christ. Since they believe we are in the millenium now and Jesus and His saints when they die reign from heaven and NOT on earth, they may believe that this fire from heaven (which does happen at the END of the 1000 years and ushers in the eternal kingdom) indicates the initiation of the eternal kingdom and believe anti-christ is christ.) Also, a-mils believe that when you die you are in a sense resurrected and reigning from heaven. Paul spoke directly against this when he said in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 “Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place. and they destroy the faith of some.”

    So, I am not a-mil. The Lord reigns DURING the millenium so he cannot be coming AFTER the millenium. He initiates the resurrection at his 2nd coming which clearly must happen before the resurrected saints can rule with Him for a thousand years. This rules out a post millenial return.

    That leaves me with a pre-millenial return of Christ who returns to resurrect His saints, bind satan for a thousand years, rule and reign with those saints for the thousand years. Then he destroys satan who is released for a short period of time at the end of the millenium and then completely conquers death and sets up His eternal kingdom.

    Sorry I don’t have more details here but I will do my best to give them to you if you want them.

    Love In Christ,
    Rachel

  28. Rachel,

    Well, that’s plenty my sister. Thanks for that analysis. I suppose we shall find out the truth eventually. In the meantime we just have to obey and believe what scripture tells us. I think your analysis here is what I believe though.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  29. Mike, love your “there I said it” post. : )
    Rachel (and Mike) yea I believe the same way you do. I have no idea what the difference is between post trib and pre wrath (please don’t try and expain here)
    but to me it’s the same thing. It is kind of rare to meet others who believe the same way. I have such a peace from the Lord about this belief. Because even if it is so (that the trib comes first, and Jesus comes back the second time “once”, after the trib) then our hope is still the same: Jesus is coming for us like He promised. amen.
    love,
    Loretta

  30. Hello Rachel,

    Thank you for those scriptures, but they still didn’t answer the question on “who is the one that hinders the Wicked One from being revealed in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? I can see where we both agree that it is not the Holy Ghost that is removed from earth. But that gives us one point in common dosen’t it? What do you know about the Hegelian Dielectic.? Did we just reach a consensus on that point?

    Many do not think that the study of end time prophecy is really very important, because it is a source of division. I on the other hand believe it is a very important. I think we all can agree that the Bible speaks of an false end time global church (apostate). The post-trib veiw is the same veiw of the apostate church because the post – trib is the veiw that places the church on the earth at and same time as the rule of anti-christ and could therefore be the only church that could be decieved by him.

    The only point of discussion here is whether the true church is also post-trib and goes through the tribulation, side by side with the apostate church. By the way, the apostate church today calls the church members that are not in unity with them “laggards” and ones that hinder “unity”.

    I understand why the apostate church has to completely reject the pre-trib veiw because the pre-trib veiw would take the church out of the earth during the rule of the anti-christ. I attended a SBC church several years ago that use to be pre-tribulation in doctrine. I saw them slowly turn from the pre trib position as they were experiencing the ” paradigm shift”. The church actually got to the point very quickly, that the pastor was proclaiming that the church was “Elijah” and was going to point the Jews to the Messiah, apparently fulfilling the prophesy of Malachi 4:5,6 . The song “These are the Days of Elijah” had a much greater purpose in the church than just to be a catchy little tune. The song is not written about a pre-tribulaton veiwpoint, it was written to help prepare the churches for the post-trib veiw. I forsee many, many more churches all over the world embracing post- trib veiws as we get closer to the end times, they have too! Rachel, Mike, Loretta, and Helen you can take heart in the fact that you will be soon very far from outcast! You can rest assured that the post-trib veiw will very soon be the mainstream veiw. Most churches are now already preparing for the wave. You can see many Baptist churches claiming to be “pre-millenial” in their doctrine, instead of “pre-tribulation”. This gives room for all veiwpoints in the same church and still keep unity (pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib), because all these veiwpoints can be considered “pre-millenial”.

    I have another question? What do you think is the purpose of the two witnessess spoken of in Revelation 11. Were they sent to help the church? I think it’s great that you are willing to share the post-trib veiws me. I like to know how people come to their conclusions from the scripture. That is why I post my comments as how ” I understood them”.

  31. Amen Loretta!

    Frank,
    I am saying that I think the one who is taken out of the way is the ark angel Michael spoken of in Daniel, refered to as the one who protects “your people”. “Your people” is defined as everyone who has their names written in the book. It says Michael will arise (ascend) so that is who I believe is being taken out of the way.

    I haven’t come across many post-tribbers so I’m not sure where these people are that you are referring too. I do know that many of His saints are being called out of false churches. (purpose driven for example).

    The two witnesses are sent to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers. I believe they are speaking mainly to Jews as they will be located in Jerusalem. If I see them, being a christian, I would still definately listen and give them water to drink if I have it. They are sent from God when the Word of God will be very scarce.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  32. Hello Rachel,

    I have not heard of Micheal being the one that restrains, interesting view. I will study that out. I am also curious if anyone know what the Catholic views are on the second coming?

    Rachel said: “The two witnesses are sent to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers”.

    Impossable, because that prophesy was fulfilled with John the Baptist!

    And many of the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias(Elijah), TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people for the Lord (Luke 1:17 KJV)

    Let me explain the scriptures that I used to understand that prophesy that you referred to at the end of Malachi. It may raise some thought provoking questions in your studies also.

    The Bible says that this prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist when he pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus even said:

    For all the prophets and the law prophesied UNTIL JOHN (the Baptist, not John the Revelator). And if ye will receive it, THIS IS ELIAS (Elijah), which was for to come (fulfilling Malachi 4:5,6). He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:13-15 KJV).

    The Bible speaks of the coming of Jesus Christ for the church is preceded by a voice from heaven and by a trumpet, not a prophet.

    But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord IN THE AIR: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV).

    As you can see by this verse, the church meets Jesus in the air, not on the Mount of Olives, when He returns for His church.

    To say that the church is caught up at the end of the tribulation to meet the Lord in the air, as he is coming to earth to fight the anti-christ leaves absolutly no time to partake of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. In Revelation 19:7-10, the Lambs wife is in Heaven “clothed in fine linen”, BEFORE they return to earth with Jesus. Somehow “the Bride” made it all the way to heaven and not just up in the air to meet Jesus and then immediatley return. When Jesus comes to earth, to rule and rain for a thousand years (millinium kingdom) he is coming from the Marriage supper in Heaven not in the clouds! This is why I keep asking about your understanding of the Marriage Supper doctrine.

    The post-tribulation view though is perfect for a apostate church movement that is looking for the second coming of the Messiah. They can also claim to be “the Elijah Church” and point the Jews toward the “Messiah”, supposedly fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi 4:5,6.
    See, the Jews are still looking for the first coming of Messiah to rule and reign for a thousand years. The Bible plainly speaks of a false prophet and an anti-christ ruling before Christ comes to earth to rule the Millenium Kingdom. This “anti-christ” could fulfill both prophecies at one time. With this “ushering in the Messiah” doctrine, you could easily have both “the church” and the Jews, worshipping the same man as “the Christ” when he appears.
    What I see are many Baptist, Pentecostal, and Charismatic churches that embrace this doctrine claim they also believe in the “rapture”. One main problem with this “Elijah Church” doctrine is, the Jews are not looking for Jesus to come in the air, but “suddenly to His temple” (Malachi 3:1). For the church to claim that they are the “Elijah” of the prophecy of Malachi and still believe in the rapture cannot be possible. When the church is “caught up” into the air, how is the church going to then have time to point the Jews to Jesus? They have to do that today, before they are “caught up” in the air. But witnessing to the Jews today would still be the same mission of the church for almost 2000 years, not some new “Elijah” ministry.
    Many Christians through out history have truly pointed the Jewish people to Jesus and many Jews have become Christians, but the church has never considered herself “Elijah” until now. I guess if you can build a new end time church, then you can call it whatever you want.
    There maybe an appearing of Elijah before Jesus comes to rule for a thousand years but according to pre-tribulation doctrine, the church is with Jesus when He returns and not on earth pointing the Jews too Him. Some like you, believe that one of the two end time witnesses during the tribulation period is Elijah, but these two witnesses will have already have finished their ministry and been caught up to heaven (Revelation 11:12) by the time Jesus returns. Their ministry is to confront a false Messiah and an apostate church, not to declare the coming of the Messiah. The Bible says that a false church and the Jews will already be worshipping a false Messiah in the temple when Jesus returns. Through out the history of the true church and even today, when a Jew accepts Jesus Christ as the Messiah, they are that time agreeing with us that it really was John the Baptist that was the “Elijah that was to come” and declare the Messiah. They are not looking for a new “Elijah” to come and declare the Messiah to them again, because they already know Him! The ones that do not know the Messiah are still looking for a prophet. This is what gives the false prophet his ability to deceive so many.

    And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (the Baptist). And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:12-14 KJV).

    And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, THAT WE MAY KNOW HIM that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20 KJV).

    I would be curious to know, what is your understanding of the BODILY resurrection of the dead that happened at the cross?

    And the graves were opened; and may bodies of the saints which slept arose, and CAME OUT OF THE GRAVES after his resurrection (Christ the firstfruits), and went into the holy city and appeared unto many (Matthew 27:52,53 KJV).

    I saw you mentioned the prophesy of Joel 2:31 when referring to the “last days”. Didn’t Peter say that was what happened at Pentacost? So we see that the even 2000 years ago were even considered the “last days”.

    But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: IN THE LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: ……..(Acts 2:17,18 KJV)

  33. Hello Rachel,

    You said: Act 3:21 “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everythng, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” When Jesus comes, it won’t be a secret 2nd coming- a seven year waiting period- and then a 3rd return for eveyone to see Him. He cannot come UNTIL he comes to restore everything.”

    Here are some more thought provoking scriptures to put beside the Acts 3:21 scriptures that you claim must be fulfilled before Jesus can return (i.e. the restitution of all things). Was the verses in Acts 3:21 talking about Jesus’ first coming or his second coming like you claim?

    And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethern, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you (Acts 3:20-22 KJV).

    How does Acts 3:20-22 fit when placed beside this scripture Matthew 17:10-13?

    And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must come first? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, AND RESTORE ALL THINGS. But i say unto you, THAT ELIAS IS COME ALREADY, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of JOHN THE BAPTIST (Matthew 1;10-13 KJV).

    Rachel, please be patient with me, I really am trying to understand the points you are presenting, but it is verses like these that the Lord keeps showing me.

  34. Frank,

    Some great points here re John the Baptist and Elijah. I also did a double take on this one. Lets see what John B said when he was asked if he was either Elijah or a prophet in John 1:21 “”They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah? He said “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered “No.””

    Also take another look at the words of Jesus that you quoted in Matthew 11:12-14 “……And IF YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT IT, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.”

    Now I ask you, did they this group Jesus was talking to ACCEPT that John the Baptist was Elijah? ……….If this group had accepted John as Elijah, he would have been but they did not accept Johns message or they would have repented and believed in Jesus. Instead, Jesus goes on to talk about them and then began denouncing the cities where he had performed miracles because these towns DID NOT REPENT which is evidence of their unbelief.

    Malachi 4:5-6 says that Elijah “WILL turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” John the Baptist did NOT fulfil the prophecy, he was not accepted. This mission WILL be successful when it is fulfilled by the real Elijah. Also, this happens before the GREAT AND DREADFUL DAY OF THE LORD. Jesus’s first coming was not the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

  35. Frank,

    Sorry, I accidently hit send before I was done! May be I was done and didn’t know it. Can we please address one question at a time? These are each indepth questions and it helps me to give clearer responses if I am addressing one question at a time. I think it is wonderful that you are addressing each of these verses that the Lord is showing you. I did the same thing. What ever conclusion you eventually come to, if you have been digging and answering each hard bump along the way it makes your conviction of the truth stronger (if you have diligently studied every verse you can find on it). The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth! Amen! One thing I try and remeber to do is repent before reading my bible, and then pray that I can understand the truth of His word before I read it. I cannot understand without Holy Spirits guidance. I am blind without Him.

    Thank you for your references and the time you are putting into this topic and discussion.

    Love In Christ,
    Rachel

  36. Hello Rachel,

    Using that same logic you are applying to John the Baptist, means that Jesus also did not fulfill the Messianic prophesies either because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah just like the rejected John as his messanger! Just because the Jews rejected John and rejected Jesus does not mean that both these prophesies were not fulfilled. Just because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah does not mean that Jesus is not the Messiah! I have to reject your logic on that.

    Of course John the Baptist was not Elijah personally which is what he was trying to explain to the Jews (John 1:21), he just fulfilled the prophesy as Jesus taught.

    And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must come first? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, AND RESTORE ALL THINGS. But i say unto you, THAT ELIAS IS COME ALREADY, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of JOHN THE BAPTIST (Matthew 1;10-13 KJV).

  37. Hello Rachel,

    I appreciate the verses you gave me and I will study them in the context you presented them. We are not going to come to an agreement on these scriptures, because we are looking at them from two different views. I look at them from the point of being fulfilled and you look at them from the point of still needing to be fulfilled. Plainly we are each hearing two different things in these scriptures. You reject John the Baptist as the Elijah that was to come, and I accept John the Baptist as the Elijah that was to come. It doesn’t get any simplier than that. I am just hearing something different than you in those scriptures. Jesus explained this dilemma:

    For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. and if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:13-15 KJV).

    I hope some of these scriptures will help as you grow in your understanding of end time doctrine. Thanks again for the scriptures you presented.
    Mike has got a great post going on about the resurrection body, I look forward to seeing your response to that post.

    In His Service,

    Frank

  38. Frank,

    Perhaps I am not being clear enough. John the baptist came in the SPIRIT AND POWER of Elijah Mark 1:17. He was not Elijah INCARNATE. Elijah incarnate will come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Malachi says ELIJAH will come first before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. John the Baptist made it clear he was not Elijah, he was John the Baptist, one crying out in the wilderness. Remeber that one crying out in the wilderness was also prophesied to come before the Messiah. It is prophesied that the messiah comes twice. John came in the spirit and power of Elijah (he was NOT the reincarnation of Elijah), sharing the same message as Elijah but the jews rejected him. IF they had accepted his message he would have been the incarnate Elijah, but they did not and he wasn’t. Elijah never died. Elijah will return in his own body to share his message of the coming Jesus Christ. When he does he will be believed.

    I believe that many of the Jews will probably think that the false prophet is Elijah and believe that the anti-christ is Christ. Those who do are still rejecting Jesus as their messiah but the remnant will not believe the false prophet or the anti-christ and when they hear the truth preached by Elijah himself (one of the two witnesses to come before the great and terrible day of the Lord) they will turn their hearts.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  39. Rachel and Frank and anyone else who would like to respond,

    What do you think of the message we have been hearing lately that we could possibly already be in the 2nd or 3rd seal of Revelation 6:3-4?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  40. Mike,

    I am still working on my time lines so I could give you better answers in a year or even months.

    I don’t think we are in any of the seals yet.

    Daniel 27:1 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’.”

    Seal One- Then anti-christ comes in peace (no arrows with his bow)(white horse, implies he looks like the coming messiah) yet he is really bent on conquest. He will appear to come in peace and will establish a false peace. We do not yet have false peace which I believe will happen when the covenant is confirmed. I do think we are very very close. Examples PEACE plan by RW and the video with over a million hits on YOUTUBE by MadV called the invitation. Check it out and then check out his second video called The Response, it is living proof of this generations desire for a oneworld government and peace plan.

    Seal Two- Peace is taken and men will slay each other. A large sword is given which seems to imply lots and lots of death and possibly some sort of mechanism that kills people. I see this seal happening at the 3 1/2 year mark when anti-christ breaks the covenant Daniel 9:27 “…In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.” So the covenant or false peace has been broken. “And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” This abomination that makes desolate is “set up”. Sounds like some sort of killing machine. I think back to the French Revolution when they had to invent a machine that would excelerate the killings. There would only be 3 1/2 years left and satan wants all of the glory for himself, he will kill and terrorize all of mankind and especially those who love and hold to the testimony of our dear savior Lord Jesus. He knows his time is short so he will want to excelerate the killing.

    Seal Three- Extreme famine. The mark of the beast is not given until the last 3 1/2 years. The false prophet makes people take it or they cannot buy or sell. It would make sense that this would also coincide with a famine and the controlling of food along with forced worship. Many who may not want to worship him will make a choice to when they put their temporal need for food ahead of their spiritual hunger.

    So no, I do not think we are in the first three seals. I think we are very close to seeing the first seal open. When there is a councel of ten rulers and someone in their midst makes a covenant with many I would take that as a very strong sign. You will have a very good idea that this is the anti-christ he kills three of the ten leaving seven rulers and becomes the 8th ruler. He will also try to change the set times and laws. I would suspect the anti-christ, wanting all glory for himself, will try to do away with A.D. and B.C.

    Daniel 7:24 “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” (3 1/2 years)

    I see the false peace coming from the west. Zechariah 6:1-8 will tell you more about these horses/chariots that are seals being opened. Zechariah 1:10 confirms this.

    Hope this helps.

    Love in Christ,
    Rachel

  41. Rachel,

    I agree with you. However, I hear this quite a bit from some people. One of the things I heard though that got me to thinking that we might be in the first few seals was that no one was aware it had happened. Sort of an argument from silence I suppose. Of course the pre-trib folks say that they will be raptured before the first seal anyway so they aren’t looking for these signs.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  42. Mike,

    I have considered this as well. It could sneak up on us! But not if we are watching. However, a seven year peace covenant must be put in place. This is a real opportunity for glory, fame, praise, honor, etc. People will really think who ever came up with this peace plan is soooo smart and could actually be the messiah because of it so I don’t think it will be a secret. I think he will want everyone to know how great he is especially since this is his only shot and time is short. I have a feeling everyone will hear about it.

    I do think he is out there, and I do think he could be doing things right now to prepare for the right time to introduce this peace plan.

    In Christ,
    Rachel

  43. Thank you Mike!

    Your post encouraged me to blog tonight on an exchange that’s been bearing on my mind for several days.

    I always try to write in accordance with what I believe the Spirit is revealing to me through the Holy Writ, and while I’m fully aware that I’m as highly fallible and given to all of the sinful pride and self-righteousness that any man can muster, I nevertheless sometimes truly feel that others are not attacking me, but rather they are attacking the Christ within me.

    Please understand I’m not whining here or looking for consolation, rather I’m just making an observation.

    At any rate, thanks again for a nice piece of timely encouragement. I really needed this one.

    God bless

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