Anybody out there need some encouragement today? Anybody else looking around at the world and wondering how much longer?
“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ and You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” ~ Habakkuk 1:-2-4
Take courage, Christian! God answered Habakkuk’s cry, though not in the way the prophet expected. He will answer ours, also. In His own time and in His own way.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” ~ Revelation 4:1-4
Meta tauta. “After these things”. After what things?
Remember the outline of the book of Revelation? ” ‘Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.’ ” ~ Revelation 1:19 Meta tauta.
In the first chapter of Revelation, John wrote about the things he had seen. The next two chapters he wrote about the things which are, in letters to seven churches that existed during the period of time John wrote this book. However, the letters also detail different chronological times in Church history, ending with the letters to Philadelphia and Laodicea – the true missional Church in most recent times, and the lukewarm not-quite-teaching-the-truth-anymore fallen Church, also in recent times. “After these things”. “These things”, I believe, refers to the Church Age. After the Church Age. What?
John chronicled the things he had seen, and the “things which are”, and then he looked and saw a door standing open in heaven. How glorious to see! But wait, there is more! Then he heard a voice “like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this’ .” John wrote in Revelation 1:10b-11a ~ “I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last’…” The voice of Jesus.
Jesus told John, “Come up here.” Anabainō hōde in the Greek, meaning “Ascend, go up, rise here, to this place”. Doesn’t this sound like 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17? “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
At the Rapture, Jesus will not set foot on the earth. Instead, He will call us to come up to Him, as He descends from heaven to meet us in the air. I cannot wait! 🙂
” ‘I will show you things which must take place after this’.” Revelation 4:1 begins and ends with the Greek phrase meta tauta. After these things. After this. I think the things Jesus showed John in chapters 6 and on – the Tribulation years – will take place after we, the Church, are called to “Come up here”.
“Things which must take place”. The Greek word translated here as “must” is dei, which means “it is necessary; necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others toward us; necessity established by the counsel and decree of God”. These “things which must take place” are necessary and decreed by God. The world has rejected Him.
Once the Church is snatched out of and away from the world, the wrath of God will be poured out onto the sins of man. Why? Because God is a just God and hates sin. Does He hate man? NO! He desires that all might come to Him, that ALL would be saved. Yet He cannot allow evil to go on unchecked and unpunished. He is slow to anger, but there are consequences, and He will not hold back His wrath and justice forever.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9-10
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools,” ~ Romans 1:18-22
We are without excuse. Even creation declares that God is the One True God, the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, Who was and is and is to come!
I know a lot of people believe that we Christians will suffer through at least some of the Tribulation. I would like to agree to disagree, peaceably. This is not a major doctrinal issue. As long as you believe that there is only one way to be right with God – by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone – and that Jesus is God the Son, you are saved. 🙂
That said, the Bible clearly tells us time and again that once we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we are spared from the wrath of God. Jesus paid the price for our sins. He took the wrath of God upon Himself, poured out on the cross where He hung and died for us. We are forgiven, washed clean by His blood, clothed in His righteousness, “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:4).
“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:10
“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
I could go on and on about why I believe we the Church, the Bride of Christ, will be taken home to Jesus before the Tribulation period begins.
(And I am sure there are many who could go on and on about why they believe we the Church will be on the earth for the Tribulation. I myself am encouraged by these things, and I want to encourage others. No matter what happens, God has got us in His hands. We are His!)
For instance, the twenty-four elders John saw before the throne of God in Revelation 4:4 & 10 are clothed in white robes (Jesus’ righteousness) and wearing crowns of gold on their heads (see 1 Peter 5:4, above). “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’ ” ~ Revelation 5:9-10 (emphasis mine) Those are all promises and gifts to us, the Church. I believe the twenty-four elders represent the Church.
Okay, just one more! “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” ~ Revelation 5:6-7 (again, emphasis mine)
Jesus is no longer seated at the right hand of God, interceding for His Bride, the Church. He is standing in the midst of the elders – the Church is already in heaven! He no longer needs to intercede for us.
“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” ~ Mark 16:19
” ‘Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.’ ” ~ Luke 22:69
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens…
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 8:1, 10:12, 12:2
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” ~ Romans 8:34
Whatever you choose to believe – and I hope you at least choose to believe in Jesus – take comfort in the fact that Jesus is praying for you, right now. He is speaking with our Heavenly Father about us, defending us from the lies of Satan, and sending us His Holy Spirit to teach, comfort, strengthen, and protect us. Hallelujah!
If you have never chosen Jesus as your Saviour, the Holy Spirit is there, quietly nudging you, desiring to reveal Jesus to you. But God is a gentleman, don’t worry. He will never force Himself on you. It is your choice to make.