In today’s message, we’re looking at another question about the last days that we received from our partner, Lisa. She asked…“Won’t the rapture save us from the tribulation?
As we study God’s Word, we determine what is true and what we should believe. What is true according to the Bible, may or may not be what we want. But we always need to know what is true–because without truth, we are ripe for being deceived.
Now, more than ever, Christians are inundated by false doctrines and deception. At the same time, there is less discipline to learn and study God’s Word in order to correctly discern what is true. As we will see in the Scripture below, in these last days, it is common to be swayed into error. Possibly by watching a video, listening to a sermon, or reading a new book. If we like what we learn, we too easily adopt that doctrine as our own—whether true or not.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15.
The Scripture calls us to accountability. Also, the passage below, is describing the church during the last days. It is a warning of what will occur on a large scale. As we read the following passage, we should pray and ask the Lord to help us be vigilant not to fall into this dangerous trap. The best way to safeguard yourself, is to spend time daily in God’s Word.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:3.
Back to our question… There are two aspects to this question we need to consider.
- What is meant by the word TRIBULATION?
- What is the timing of the rapture (rescue of the righteous) in relation to the wrath of God?
Let’s dive into this important inquiry…
To begin, Jesus said, in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In the above Scripture, Jesus is telling us that there is tribulation in this world… always. Tribulation doesn’t start in the last days… it is always in the world. Why? Because Satan is the god of this world and he came to “steal, kill and destroy.” This brings tribulation to all who live in the world—especially to those who trust in the Lord (John 10:10). Satan hates God and God’s people. We are on the opposing side in this cosmic battle of the ages.
Did you notice that Jesus also said that in Him, we have peace. As we spend time in fellowship with Jesus and His Word, the peace we experience grows and displaces the uncertainties that this world brings.
We also read in Matthew 24:9-13, a passage of Scripture regarding tribulation that is specifically descriptive for those living in the last days. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
That certainly describes tribulation. But to break it down further, what does the word tribulation actually mean?
The secular and biblical definitions of tribulation remain relatively synonymous, though used in different contexts. As listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, tribulation means distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution.
It is fascinating—and concerning—to read and hear how the church in general describes what the word tribulation means. One definition often given for tribulation is that it is referring to the last seven years, aka Daniel’s 70th Week. Yet, where is that supported by Scripture? It is not. Yes, there will be tribulation throughout the last 7 years, but there is always tribulation, according to Jesus. So, this specific definition is misleading at best.
Jesus did refer to “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), as He referenced the second half of the 70th Week of Daniel, or the final 3½ years. In other words, the tribulation that already exists will greatly increase during this specific 3½ year time frame. But the term tribulation is not a biblical word for the final 7 years, as so many believe.
Another definition some have adopted for the word tribulation, is that it represents the wrath of God. Again, this is not literally biblical. Let’s recap.
- There is tribulation throughout history.
- There is great tribulation during the final 3½ years, which includes the wrath of God.
- There is the wrath of God poured out on the unrighteous at the very end of the age, when the 7th and final Seal of Revelation is opened—during a portion of the final 3½ years.
Therefore, the term tribulation is not synonymous with the wrath of God.
Now, let’s look at the second part of the question—the wrath of God. What conditions accompany that event, and it’s timing to the rapture?
First Thessalonians 5:9-13 reveals the most important condition we should know as a believer, about God’s wrath. “For God did not appoint us (the followers of Jesus) to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake (are alive) or sleep (have died), we should live together with Him.” (Parentheses added).
In the above Scripture, we are told with certainty, that as faithful believers we will not experience God’s wrath, which is only meant for the unbelievers.
The rapture occurs at Seal 6 (Revelation 6 & 7), just prior to the wrath of God being poured out, as described in Seal 7 (Revelation 8). At the rapture, we know that both the dead in Christ, and those who are alive in Christ, will be removed… prior to the wrath of God being released on the earth. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Much like the flood that came immediately after Noah and his family were safely in the ark (Genesis 7). Also similar to when Lot and his family were removed by angels from Sodom, immediately destruction came on the unrighteous (Genesis 19). In like manner, the wrath of God will come immediately after the rapture, or rescue of the righteous (Revelation 6:12-17).
In summary, we will experience tribulation while we live in this fallen world. But as believers in Jesus Christ, we will not experience the wrath of God. These are two Scriptural certainties!
We can take great hope in what Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Because He overcame the world, we also have been given His power and ability to overcome the world, because He lives in us.
In answer to the question in today’s message, we have learned that the rapture will not save us from the tribulation, but it will save us from the wrath of God. Hallelujah!
Remember, as we move closer to the end of this Age, you will hear many things. Some you will like and some you will be uncomfortable with. What you think matters little unless it agrees with God’s Word. It is up to you to verify everything against the Word of God to determine if it is true or false. Once again, if we do not know what is true, we are ripe for deception.
Jesus told us…“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:4-5.
This Scripture is not only speaking about those who claim to be Jesus Christ incarnate, but it is also about those who represent themselves as a voice for Jesus Christ—not denying Jesus, but speaking for Him. Some will be called pastors, authors, and Christian leaders. Those titles should not be enough to convince you that what they say is true. Any more than we trust our government if it does not line up with God’s word. As a Christian, God is our highest authority. Everything we submit to must agree with God and His Word if we are to avoid deception and walk safely though this life into eternity with God.
With God, nothing is impossible!
Dale and Paula Black
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UNPDATE NEWS: Regarding our lost computers and interrupted video production… As you heard from us last week, we lost our video editing computer system (ultimately two computers and editing software) and have had to replace all that was lost.
Thanks to many of you, through your support, we have received much of what was needed for those replacements of hardware and software, which allowed us to purchase two new computers and the software. Thank you for your wonderful responsiveness to this need. Your giving has blessed us greatly! But there is still a need….
Although about 3/4 of the cost has been covered, we still need 25% more to cover all the costs of this need. If you are able to assist in the recovery of this unexpected cost, please make a donation today. A gift of any size will help. Thank you.
The new system is doubling our ability to produce videos and will help us do more, in half the time. Praise the Lord!
Due to many circumstances, the majority of the ministry effort is accomplished by only the two of us. It has made it more difficult to meet the many needs, but God is sustaining us and the work He has called us to accomplish. In spite of the obstacles, we are launching a new podcast channel in the coming weeks called Prophecy Codebreaker in an effort to reach many new people with the gospel of Jesus Christ in the days ahead. Dale is also working on a new book called THE LAST GENERATION, which we believe will answer the urgent need for Heaven’s view of the last days according to Scripture. We sense the urgency of the hour and believe this new, groundbreaking book, will reveal with clarity, the unfolding final days and how to prepare for what’s ahead.
We are hoping to have what was lost, fully restored, and be ready to provide a new podcast or video by next week. Hallelujah! We ask for your prayers and thank those of you who faithfully pray for us and the work of this ministry. Together, we are building and strengthening the the family of God.
Dale and Paula Black
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“Captain Dale’s heart is without a doubt in the right place. He helps us with our own salvation immensely. We are ALL going to die but before another minute goes by we MUST REPENT. Many people fail to do so and they risk losing Heaven and may have to suffer the pains of Hell forever.” – William
“Thank you so much Dale and Paula for the clarification on the end times and what happens. It was so confusing to understand fully before. Thanks for all your hard work and faithfulness.” – Linda
“Amazing story of God ‘s hand moving in Dale’s life in the book “Visiting Heaven”. If you don’t believe in miracles, his story could change your mind. Dale points to one who is behind the miracles. All glory to Jesus Christ, the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit within us.” – Jeff