Friday, March 4, 2011

THE DAY OF THE LORD AND THE HOPE OF SALVATION

In the previous post, I laid out the structure of the SEVENTIETH WEEK PROPHECY as it was GIVEN to ISRAEL. I asked PERTINENT QUESTIONS to assist you in seeing and understanding that THE CHURCH is NOT APPOINTED to that TERRIBLE final WEEK (the TRIBULATION), which is yet to FALL upon ISRAEL, and upon the WHOLE WORLD, for their sin of REJECTING Jesus.

Today, I’ll pick up the thread and offer some ADDITIONAL information, gleaned from a variety of OTHER PROPHECIES in the Holy Word--which declare the strong WARNINGS from God.

Let’s briefly REVIEW what we found in the SEVENTY WEEK PROPHECY given by Daniel to ISRAEL.

What EVENT STARTS the SEVENTIETH WEEK in Israel?

“The prince that shall come” (the Antichrist) will CONFIRM A COVENANT with the many--this is a PEACE AGREEMENT which is SUPPOSED to last SEVEN YEARS. But in the MIDDLE of the week, after THREE AND A HALF YEARS, Antichrist will BREAK THE AGREEMENT, bringing about what Jesus called THE GREAT TRIBULATION.

WHAT is the WRATH of God?

It’s the TIME when God will SORELY punish ISRAEL and THE WORLD for their SIN of REJECTING Jesus.

In the OLD TESTAMENT, that PERIOD of God’s JUDGMENT and WRATH is called “the DAY of the LORD”--(a total of 20 references--of which I list TWO--Joel 2:1-2, Zephaniah 1:14-15.) That TIME is also called “The INDIGNATION”--(Isaiah 26:20, 34:2 and 63:1-6.) “The DAYS of VENGEANCE of our GOD”--(Isaiah 34:8 and Luke 21:22.) “THAT DAY”--(used NUMEROUS times, and difficult to trace through Strong’s Concordance.) “The HOUR of His JUDGMENT”--(Revelation 14:7.) “The SEVENTIETH WEEK”--(Daniel 9:24-27.)

Jesus referred to the FIRST THREE AND A HALF YEARS as the BEGINNING OF SORROWS, which are birth pangs, (Matthew 24:8, Mark 13:8)--and the SECOND HALF as the GREAT TRIBULATION (Matthew 24:21-29). Right in the MIDDLE is the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, as compared to Daniel 9:27).

LET’S ALLOW THE BIBLE DEFINE AND INTERPRET ITSELF:  I’ll quote TWO PASSAGES which DEFINE and DESCRIBE “the DAY of the LORD.”--which is SHOWN to be a PERIOD of INTENSE JUDGMENT, paralleling the SEVEN YEAR period of TRIBULATION.

Joel 2:1-2--“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an ALARM in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for THE DAY OF THE LORD comes, for it is nigh at hand; a DAY of DARKNESS and of GLOOMINESS, a DAY of CLOUDS and THICK DARKNESS, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there has NOT BEEN EVER THE LIKE, neither shall BE ANY MORE AFTER IT, even to the years of many generations.” (Compare to Matthew 24:21.)

Zephaniah 1:14-17 (up to the first part of verse 17)--“The GREAT DAY OF THE LORD is near, is near, and hastens greatly, even the VOICE of THE DAY OF THE LORD: the MIGHTY men shall CRY there bitterly. THAT DAY is a DAY of WRATH, a DAY of TROUBLE and DISTRESS, a DAY of WASTENESS and DESOLATION, a DAY of DARKNESS and GLOOMINESS, a DAY of CLOUDS and THICK DARKNESS, a DAY of TRUMPET and ALARM against the fenced cities, and against the high towers, and I will BRING DISTRESS upon men…”

To emphasize the BITTERNESS and EXCEPTIONAL TROUBLE which happens in THE SEVENTIETH WEEK, the scripture gives a GRAPHIC WARNING in Amos 5:18-20.

“WOE unto you that DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD! To what end IS IT for you? The DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS, and NOT LIGHT. As if a man DID FLEE from a LION, and a BEAR met him; or WENT INTO THE HOUSE and LEANED his hand ON THE WALL, and a SERPENT bit him. Shall NOT the DAY OF THE LORD be DARKNESS, and NOT LIGHT? Even VERY DARK, and NO BRIGHTNESS in it?”

The MAIN THRUST of this prophecy is this: When Israel (and the world) FIND themselves in the MIDST of the DAY OF THE LORD, they’ll THINK they ESCAPED from “one” PROBLEM--only to be confronted by WORSE ONE. They think they’re SAFE in their own homes, but get bitten by A SERPENT. The BITE of the SERPENT could refer to SATAN’S RAGE during that DREADFUL HOUR--because he KNOWS his time’s running out. (I see no REFERENCES to NATIONS described in the LION or the BEAR, even though the symbols COULD represent modern England and Russia. What these animals SHOW is the INABILITY to ESCAPE the TROUBLES--ONCE people find themselves in the MIDST of the DAY OF THE LORD.)

When I read articles or comments GIVEN by PEOPLE who BELIEVE the CHURCH will be ON EARTH during the TRIBULATION, they offer explanations that the POWER of Christ in them will HELP them SURVIVE that time. They THINK they’ll be a mighty force--those who witnesses about Jesus during the TRIBULATION. (I ASK--if they DON’T witness now, HOW do they believe they WILL do so in the middle of that DREADFUL TIME?) These people also SAY that the TROUBLES happening will NOT affect them. Somehow, they insist, they’ll be strong and do exploits. CAN THAT BE TRUE?

HEAR THE PROPHET AMOS! “WOE unto you who DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD!” We can REPHRASE it like this--“WOE unto to you who DESIRE the TRIBULATION!” Or--“WOE unto you who DESIRE the SEVENTIETH WEEK!” These SENTENCES are SYNONYMOUS. We SEE there’s NOTHING GOOD to be DESIRED during that TERRIBLE TIME.

Sure, the Lord COULD protect His OWN during the TRIBULATION.  He INDEED does so for the 144,000 sealed servants of the TRIBES of ISRAEL!  

But far more people will experience BRUTAL deaths, resulting in a GREAT MULTITUDE of MARTYRED TRIBULATION SAINTS!  The “Antichrist” will OVERCOME them!  “WOE unto you who DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD!”  Not many, who stand up for Jesus, will SURVIVE that time!

How do I KNOW this?  During that TERRIBLE JUDGMENT, by counting the SOULS who perish on the earth in just TWO of the JUDGMENTS--(the FOURTH SEAL of the PALE HORSE and the SIXTH TRUMPET of the “army of horsemen”)--about TWO-THIRDS of the WORLD’S POPULATION PERISHES.  At today’s census, that’s over FOUR BILLION PEOPLE who will perish.  AND this is NOT factoring OTHER JUDGMENTS into the equation!

“WOE to you who DESIRE the DAY OF THE LORD!  What end is it for you?  The DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS and NOT LIGHT.”

Would you agree that THIS is NOT a NICE PICTURE?  Would you agree that the DAY OF THE LORD is God’s WRATH being DEALT upon the earth?  Would you agree that ISRAEL, and those IN THE WORLD at THAT TIME, have REJECTED Jesus Christ (either by IGNORANCE or by ABSOLUTE REBELLION)?  And have therefore come under the heavy hand of God’s RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS?  (It’s by DIVINE MERCY in the MIDST of JUDGMENTS that MARTYRED SOULS find themselves before God’s throne in the 5th SEAL of Revelation 6, the GREAT MULTITUDE of Revelation 7, and among those who sing THE SONG OF MOSES in Revelation 15.)

Allow me to OFFER you a BLESSED HOPE!  You DON’T need TO FIND yourself in THE MIDST of that TERRIBLE TIME!

Don’t be IGNORANT about Jesus, and the WAY to TRUE SALVATION.  ACCEPT Jesus (and invite Him into your heart) in this TIME of GOD’S GRACE--and you’ll NEVER experience the DAY OF THE LORD!

The Prophet Amos tells us that the DAY OF THE LORD is DARKNESS and NOT LIGHT.  He REPEATS--“Shall NOT the DAY OF THE LORD be DARKNESS, and NOT LIGHT?  Even VERY DARK, and NO BRIGHTNESS in it?”

Let’s compare it to a PROMISE for the CHURCH.  Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8 (LOOK at this passage CAREFULLY NOW, especially since I DRILLED you about the TRIBULATION, that DAY OF DARKNESS).

“But you, brethren--(members of the BODY of Jesus Christ through being BORN AGAIN) are NOT in DARKNESS, that THAT DAY (the TRIBULATION) should overtake you as a thief.  You are CHILDREN of THE DAY; we ARE NOT of the NIGHT, nor of DARKNESS.  Therefore, let us NOT sleep (or be in IGNORANCE) as do OTHERS, but let us WATCH and be SOBER--(NOT being in a STUPOR).  For they that sleep, sleep IN THE NIGHT; and they that are drunken, are drunken in the NIGHT (which means THEY are UNAWARE--or in IGNORANCE).  But let us, who ARE of THE DAY, be SOBER, putting on the BREASTPLATE of FAITH and LOVE; and for an HELMET, the HOPE of SALVATION.”

Amos said that the DAY OF THE LORD was DARKNESS.  Let me ask you, can BORN AGAIN children, who have THE LIGHT of Jesus inside us, enter into that time of EXTREME DARKNESS?  The answer is “NO,” because Paul assures us that we will NOT be CAUGHT in THAT DAY, when DARKNESS overtakes the world (and Israel) like a thief.  We’re NOT in DARKNESS, so therefore, THE TRIBULATION (the DAY OF THE LORD) will NOT overtake us like a thief.  (IN THE LIGHT OF JESUS, we’ll be TRANSLATED into the KINGDOM OF GOD in heaven!--where TRUE and PURE LIGHT resides!)

Paul continues, telling the BORN AGAIN in the CHURCH, that we are to PROTECT ourselves.  HOW?  By putting on a BREASTPLATE which PROTECTS our HEARTS. This BREASTPLATE is FAITH and LOVE.

Faith and love will PROTECT our hearts.  What is Paul talking about?  It’s the FAITH we have in Jesus (the very FAITH OF JESUS HIMSELF), and our LOVE for Him.  As we have FAITH, as we LOVE the Lord Jesus--with ALL our hearts, minds, souls and strength--we’re KEPT SAFE from that TIME of APPROACHING DARKNESS.  The TRIBULATION will NOT catch us, or rob from us, like a thief.  WHY?  Because our FOCUS remains steady--upon our FAITH and LOVE of Jesus.

We see yet another element in what Paul writes to the BORN AGAIN in the CHURCH. He said, “Putting on an HELMET (which PROTECTS our THINKING and our MIND)…the HELMET is the HOPE of SALVATION.”  We can be GREATLY DISTRESSED in our minds IF we DO NOT have that HOPE OF SALVATION!

CASUAL READING causes people to think that THE HOPE OF SALVATION is the message of ACCEPTING Jesus as SAVIOR and LORD, and gaining the SALVATION from hell fire.

BUT WAIT A MINUTE!  Paul is addressing people who are “OF THE DAY.”  THESE PEOPLE are NOT of the NIGHT, nor of DARKNESS.  THEREFORE, this is A CHURCH who has ALREADY obtained the SAVING of OUR SOULS by ACCEPTING Jesus Christ as the ONE who CLEANSES us--and makes us a NEW CREATION.  We don’t need to HOPE for that SALVATION, because we ALREADY possess it!

The HOPE talked about in the CONTEXT of 1 Thessalonians 5 is DELIVERANCE from the DARKNESS of the DAY OF THE LORD!  The HOPE is NOT just to WISH FOR salvation or to THINK it MIGHT happen.  It's much deeper than that!  This HOPE is to ANTICIPATE and EXPECT the salvation (or deliverance) which is promised.

The HOPE of SALVATION--is ALSO the BLESSED HOPE of the CHURCH.  How can I say this?

Look at the CONTEXT of the passage!  Paul teaches the BORN AGAIN in the CHURCH that since we’re OF THE DAY, then THAT DAY (the DAY OF THE LORD--the TRIBULATION) will NOT overtake “us” like a thief.  This MEANS that we WILL ESCAPE the DAY OF DARKNESS, that DAY OF THE LORD (the TRIBULATION). ESCAPING that horrible TIME of trouble is our HOPE OF SALVATION!  In our HOPE (or expectation) OF SALVATION, we LOOK FORWARD to being SAVED FROM entering that AWFUL TIME.  The HOPE of our SALVATION is the PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE!

[Back up even FURTHER in this LETTER that PAUL wrote--and carefully read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (TO SEE THE WHOLE CONTEXT)--and WE KNOW he’s speaking about a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE.]

There’s NO REASON for anyone to be TRAPPED in the DARKNESS and the JUDGMENTS of the DAY OF THE LORD.  There’s a way to GAIN SALVATION, the ESCAPE and RESCUE, “from” that TIME.  Ask Jesus TO COME and LIVE inside your hearts RIGHT NOW--while the TIME remains DAYLIGHT!

WHAT CAN WE SAY, CONCERNING WHAT WE’VE SEEN SO FAR?

We KNOW the CHURCH will “NOT BE PRESENT” in ANY of that “TERRIBLE TIME” of TRIBULATION JUDGMENT.

In LIGHT of our HOPE OF SALVATION, may your day be full of blessings, peace and rejoicing.  Keep your thoughts and hearts upon Jesus; He’ll bring you TRUE COMFORT.

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