Today we will discuss the last two events prior to the rapture of the church, or what the Bible defines as “our gathering together to Him”. If you have not read the previous article please click the following link Behold, He is Coming in the Clouds! VI
Let us look at the scriptures.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout (The final moments of the sign of the Son of Man) with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL
Revelation 11 gives us some of the events which take place inside of Israel and begin at the beginning of the 7-year tribulation. The events take us through to the middle of the tribulation period (Revelation 11:1-2). At the midpoint antichrist murders two witness and leaves their bodies dead in the street for 3 and ½ days (Revelation 11:1-8).
After 3 an ½ days they will hear a voice saying, “come up here” and they ascend into the heavens. I believe this to be the voice of the arch angel Michael. The voice of the arch angel is associated with the proclamation of victory (Revelation 11:12, 15).This is cry of victory, for something had taken place, which the parenthetical section of Revelation 12 reveals.
Note with me that Revelation 11, 12 and 13:1-7 all discuss the events of the first 3 and ½ years of the 7-year tribulation time frame and a little beyond. In these three chapters we get to see overlapping events.
Revelation 12 begins with a sign in heaven just prior to or at the beginning of the 7-year tribulation. This sign is astronomical and reveals the story of Israel, its Christ and their hated enemy, the dragon, whom we know is the Devil. We see Satan once more try to eradicate the remnant, but God protects them. The events in Revelation 12:1-6 occur over 1260 days of 3 and ½ years.
Then at the midpoint, in verse 7, we read…
Revelation 12:7-9 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Satan at this time is removed from his place as the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:1-2). Satan’s being the ruling principality of the air, is an authority given to him by God, over other angelic creatures, before he fell. Satan has misused this rulership since his fall.
In Revelation 12:7-13 Michael and God’s holy angels, dislodge the devil and strip him of this authority. This reason for this is very important., for it prepares the way for Christ to descend into the heavens surrounding the earth, for the purpose of gathering His saints, in the rapture.
Interestingly, Daniel speaks of this event as well, in Daniel chapter twelve. Remember, as Satan, before his fall was the principality over the air, Michael has always been the chief principality of Israel.
Daniel 12:1 1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.
When it says, “At that time Michael shall stand up”, the phrase “stand up” is better translated “stands aside”. When considering that Michael standing aside brings a time of trouble never seen before, we know that Daniel is referring to the last 3 and ½ years of the tribulation.
When we consider this, in addition to what takes place, with Israel, after Michael goes to make war with Satan and cast him to the earth, we understand that the voice of the archangel is that which announces Christ’s gathering of the saints is at hand.
Interestingly, II Thessalonians 2:1-12 agrees with these truths. We already know that the in gathering of the church cannot occur, until the “the falling away” and the “man of sin be revealed”. We then find out something needs to take place before the man of sin be revealed.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
It’s unfortunate that most translations capitalize the personal pronoun “he” in verse 7. In the Greek language this passage was written with no punctuational or capitalization. Therefore, when translating, the English rules of grammar are left up to the translator. In this case they could not be more wrong.
The “he” translated “He” is not the Holy Spirit, as some have preferred to teach in error. The “he” does not refer to the church, with the Holy Spirit in us. In scripture the church is not referred to in the male sense, but the female, as we are the bride of Christ. There is only one person this could be… Michael the archangel who watches over Israel, restraining lawlessness in the reconstituted Israel.
When he leaves to war with Satan, dislodging the enemy from the heavens, the Devil is cast down to earth and filled with great wrath. He literally enters antichrist at some point and then performs his abomination of desolation, which reveals antichrist fully. This also lines up with Daniel 12:1-4.
THE TRUMPET OF GOD
The trumpet of God referenced in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, is also referred to in I Corinthians 15:50-52.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Although it appears the rapture will take place immediately after the last trumpet, it is not entirely true. When looking another location of the final trumpet from Revelation 11:15-16, we see the timing of the rapture, which lines up with Christ’s account in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28).
ONLY PLACE WHERE LANGUAGE LINES UP WITH SYNOPTIC GOPSELS
Revelation 14:14-16 14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Revelation 14:14-16 is where we read of the rapture of the church. At first glance it may appear that the rapture not only does not take place immediately after the sounding of the last trumpet, but that there is a long time between the two. To assume this is wrong.
We must remember that chapters 12 and 13 are largely parenthetical and the actual timeline is up to the midpoint of the tribulation. Therefore, it is not until we get to Revelation 13:6-7, where it appears the two witnesses’ ascension, emboldens antichrist to attempt to attempt to snuff out the church completely (Revelation 13:7-8, 11-18) and antichrist is emboldened to force worship of Himself on the entire world.
The rest of Revelation 13, from verse 11 onward, is parenthetical, filling details of antichrist’s operation through the Mark of the beast.
Chapter 14 is largely parenthetical, as well, with the timeline picking up in Revelation 14:14-16, at which time the rapture takes place. Therefore, the time lapse between the last trumpet and the rapture would appear to be a few days, weeks, or months.
Compare Revelation 14:14-16 to Matthew 24:29-31
Matthew 24:29-31 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, 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 His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
*You can also compare Revelation 14:14-16 to Mark 13:24-27 and Luke 21:25-28. After reading all three synoptic gospel accounts, then read all three in the timeline context, going back to where Jesus begins talking about the signs of His coming, in each gospel account. You will find it lines up with a pre-wrath rapture.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Remember the LORD desires to give mercy and each sign is given to give space for the world to consider repentance. Also remember that “tribulation” is never associated with God’s wrath, but a necessary element, all who follow Jesus will suffer (John 15:18-18-25; 16:1-4 and John 16:33).
In the last article of this series, we will discuss the difference between tribulation and God’s wrath. There is a huge difference and distinction.