Tuesday, 27 December 2011 00:00

Mid-Tribulation

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Dear Editor,

I have been reading the Midnight Call for several months now, and have finally decided to write after reading the article “First Thessalonians and the Rapture.” This article made an obvious contradiction of the timing of the Day of the Lord.

Several Old Testament Scriptures were given to describe the Day of the Lord as being a time of God pouring out His wrath. Obvious in the Old Testament description is that it is a time of destruction at the hand of God.

However, the statement is then made that “it would seem that the Day of the Lord begins with the opening of the first seal of Revelation.” Anyone who reads Scripture literally will immediately understand that the breaking of the seals describes the rise to power of the Antichrist, with his ruthless methods to control the world, and culminating with the martyrdom of the saints by the Antichrist at the breaking of the fifth seal. Obviously, this is not part of God’s wrath. Nowhere in the Old Testament does the description of the Day of the Lord as God’s wrath include the martyrdom of His saints, and the reign of the Antichrist. Indeed, Isaiah 2 states that the Lord alone is exalted in the Day of the Lord. Obvious in Revelation is the exaltation of the Antichrist during the breaking of the first five seals. He is the one being worshipped by the world. Even Daniel 9:27 states that the Antichrist will rule up until the midpoint of the seven-year treaty he institutes with Israel.

The claim that the Day of the Lord begins with the signing of the peace treaty between Antichrist and Israel is not Scriptural. In fact, Joel 2:31 makes a clear statement of an event that immediately precedes the Day of the Lord. There will be a heavenly sign announcing to the world that the Day is about to begin, as God darkens the sky worldwide. And this is confirmed in Revelation, for when the sixth seal is broken, the same description of heavenly disturbances is given. The result of this is the whole world recognizing “the great day of His wrath is come,” Revelation 6:17.

Since the scroll held by the Lord with seven visible seals on it cannot be opened until all the seals are broken, it is obvious that God’s wrath cannot begin until the scroll is opened at the breaking of the last seal. This is what is found in Revelation. At the breaking of the seventh seal, the wrath of God begins. The breaking of the previous seals is simply describing the birth pangs leading up to the Day of the Lord. They are not God’s wrath by Scriptural definition; therefore, the Day of the Lord cannot begin at the signing of the peace treaty, which initiates the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel.

With a clear understanding of the timing of the Day of the Lord, comes the understanding of the place to search for the Rapture. Since we the Church are not to experience His wrath, the Rapture must precede the opening of the scroll. The Lord said in Luke 17 that His coming would be like the days of Noah and Lot. The same day Noah and Lot escaped, judgment fell. The Day of the Lord will begin the same day the Church is raptured.  This is what we find in Revelation, as chapter seven describes the sudden appearing of the Church in heaven in conjunction with the sixth seal, the darkening of the sky, and immediately preceding the breaking of the seventh seal.

All of this is confirmed by reading Matthew 24. The Lord describes first the birth pangs in verses 4-25. He then describes the same cosmic disturbance as in Joel 2 and Revelation 6, into which He appears visible to the whole world; and then He gathers the Church to meet Him in the clouds with a great trumpet blast. All of this fulfills all the descriptions of the Rapture given elsewhere in Scripture. Also, why is the meeting the Lord in the clouds, as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 states, never discussed? If the Rapture is instantaneous worldwide, then the world must be covered by a cloud since Christians are located worldwide. And such an event is indeed presented in the verses already discussed—Joel 2:31, Matthew 24:29, Revelation 6:12—all describing the same event immediately prior to the Day of the Lord and the Rapture of the Church.

-D. Christ, PA

Answer: Based on my understanding, the “Day of the Lord” is the literal, physical appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in Israel on the Mount of Olives. This occurrence finalizes the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation. When Jesus comes, “then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

Generally, it is accepted that the Antichrist will make a “peace treaty” with Israel, which seems quite logical. However, Daniel 9:27 reads, “And he [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant.” Antichrist will confirm or agree to the reinstitution of the temple sacrifice in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. Later in Daniel, we read that the Antichrist shall “have indignation against the holy covenant” (Daniel 11:30). We must recall Jesus’ prophecy, “if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43). Israel will accept Antichrist.  

Matthew 24 relates to the Jews, highlighting His physical return to Israel. If we are to read Matthew 24 chronologically, then after His return, verse 31 will be implemented, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Note, however, that this is not the Rapture of the Church. The distinction is clearly made by the words, “he shall send his angels.” For the Church, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven.” These are two different events.

After the Rapture has taken place, there will be hell on earth, but not as we often think. In the beginning, Antichrist does not implement “ruthless methods to control the world,” but rather uses democratic principles. As documented in Daniel 11, he comes “peaceably,” with “flatteries,” and “deceitfully.” 

Furthermore, Revelation 13 confirms the enthusiasm of the world’s population for this great man, “And all the world wondered after the beast…and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” He is going to be the most benevolent leader the world has ever seen, for the first 3 ½ years. But all this belongs to the time of darkness; therefore, the light of the world, the Church, must be raptured before darkness is going to have its heyday. 
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Arno Froese

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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