3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
Among those who believe in the rapture, these see the rapture as either happening Pretribulation, Post-tribulation & Mid-tribulation, where the common ground among these is that all these believe that the tribulation occurs before the millennium of Christ rule, which is supposedly initiated by Jesus 2nd coming, where Jesus will come back with the saints who died, and rule the earth with all His saints (both those who died in Christ & those who are raptured). Coming to the pretribulation-rapture, it is of the disposition that Jesus will rapture the believers, so as to provide an escape hatch for the believers to escape the tribulation, while the post-tribulation-rapture believes that the believers will be raptured after the tribulation at the same time as His second coming. Then you have the mid-tribulation-rapture, where people supposedly believe that believers will be rapture in the midst of the tribulation.
So, what’s the problem… you’re probably asking!
6 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
If you look at Mat 13:40-42, you will notice that the weeds in this parable are dealt with first and then if you care to notice what Mat 24:39 says, those who were “taken away” by the flood (the reprobate), is the context applied to the “taking away” of the one in the field and grinding the mill in Mat 24:40 & 41. So, from the purview of Mat 13:30 where the angels will first bundle the weeds/tares and cast them into the flames, after which they proceed to gather the wheat into the barn; we understand that the second coming of Jesus i.e. judgement day will happen at the end of Jesus’ thousand year reign, where the dead – both the just & the unjust will rise (Acts 24:15/Rev 20:11-15) and be reunited with their bodies, as judgement is pronounced on both the living and the dead (2Tim 4:1). Here the just who share in the first resurrection (have come to faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:33)), will receive glorified/unperishable bodies (1Cor 15:52), and the second death has no power over because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom 8:1). Also, these who are just are those whom the Lord Jesus Christ has saved by offering Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for their sin (Rom 6:23-24) while at the same time working in them (Phil 1:6) to conform them to God’s own image/nature/character (Rom 8:29/Gen 1:26), which is mankind’s very purpose in the sight of God.
…there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Another thing which is seriously wrong with the premillennialist rapture idea, is the thought that the saints who are in their heavenly abode with Christ will come back to an earth stained with sin and rule for a thousand years with the Lord after the rapture. Now, if there is one rule about interpreting scripture it is that scripture should be interpreted in the light of scripture and not in the light of pleasing the flesh. So, in the light of Ecc 9:6, people beyond the grave are cut-off from the world never to get involved again with matters of the world ever again. Hence there is no question of the saints coming back to the earth to live among the reprobate. Somehow, I am beginning to see that the premillennialists of today are like the Jews of Jesus’ time, who were looking for a military ruler kind of Messiah who would help the Jews rid their land of the Romans. So too, the premillennialist sees the 2nd coming of Christ somewhat like an initiation of God’s military rule on the earth. It’s almost as though the premillennialist believes in the sovereignty of God only in the area of God’s Salvation, but not in their eschatology. In the light of scripture, we also understand that Jesus’ second coming is not about coming to keep a check on evil that’s getting out of hand in the world. On the contrary, we are to hasten His second coming by exercising righteousness in the world (2Pet 3:11-12) because the groom will only come for His bride/Church when she is ready, and the Almighty Holy Spirit is absolutely competent is making sure this happens. So, let us not look at wickedness in the world as an opportunity to throw caution to the wind to hasten His second coming, rather we are take the bull by the horns and live righteously like lambs unto God (John 10:16) and lions unto the world (Gen 49:9/Rev 5:5/Ps 84:10) in typifying the nature of Christ (Rom 8:29) that is prevalent in the living spirit God has blessed us with in Jesus Christ (1Cor2:14-16).
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
Talking about what the work of the Holy Spirit on the earth to hasten the coming of the Lord. I would like to help you see the 3 pieces of scripture mentioned above in the light of God reconciling all creation to Himself through the redeeming sacrifice of His Son (Col 1:16-20). Also, in the above three pieces of scripture, we see how far we are from this state of peace because right now we are nothing more than human beings with appetites for sin, prevalent in us like animal instincts. So, you somehow notice that there is a restoration process in place for mankind by the redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17), when you compare Isaiah 65:20 mentioned above to Gen 6:3, where God limited the age of mankind to 120 year to restrain their sin after the fall from mankind in Adam.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’
Now as I move to debunk the premillennialist escapist view of the tribulation followed by their millennial view of Jesus’ reign. I would like to state that from Mat 22:44, we know that when Jesus rose from the dead and sat the right father, a position of absolute authority, we understand from scripture that He sits at the right hand of God-the-Father until His enemies are subdued under His feet. Also, from the Great Commission in Mat 28:18-20 we learn of Jesus’ authority on heaven, earth & the world below, as given in the present tense. He doesn’t speak of it sometime in the future, and from Psalm 119:71, 75 we know that God uses affliction to teach His children obedience. It’s called sanctification and our sanctification is what makes us Jesus’ Sheep/Israel, that by the power of Christ in us (1John 4:4) we strive against the world under the sway of Satan who in turn yields under duress to God, who is sovereign (Gen 32:28). So, if you look at Rev 7:14, you will notice that the saints across time came through the tribulation by the saving power of Jesus Christ. Meaning the very duration of the tribulation was the very period of Christ reign because God’s sovereignty is not conditional and even the tribulation serves his mighty purpose (Isaiah 14:27/Job 42:2).
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 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. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the context of Rev 21:12 & Jn 3:3, we realize that the city God loves are a people who are born from above, those who are a new creation in Jesus Christ (2Cor 5:17). To conclude, the millennial reign of Christ is not a literal 1000 years but only symbolic of a very long time (Psalm 90:4 & 2Peter 3:8), and going by Isaiah 65:20-22, we know we are very far away from young people dying at 100 and people living as old as trees. So, there is still a lot of time for Judgement Day i.e. the Second Coming of Christ, where towards the end of the millennial rule of Christ, Satan will be released as mentioned in Rev 20:7-10 above, and you must note that Satan’s release doesn’t mark the end of Jesus’ reign. Rather, like Pharaoh in Rom 9:17 this fool is released to serve the purpose of the Almighty Triune God Himself and then after the Almighty Son deals Satan that final deadly blow, Jesus will make His glorious Second Coming to earth (Mat 26:64), where the reprobate will be sent packing first to hell before he brings Salvation to His people who have been waiting on Him (Heb 9:28). Then after destroying all creation with the consuming fire of His presence (Heb 12:29), Jesus will put a heaven and earth in place that is unstained with sin for His people to occupy and be righteous stewards over, for God’s own glory.
Rev 21 (The New Heavens & The New Earth)
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”