God has two peoples, one that makes His power known, (Israel-Descendents of Jacob), and one that makes His mercy known (Spiritual Israel-The Church-Of the seed of Abraham). The very existence of the nation of Israel today, along with the existence of Spiritual Israel is the greatest visible proof of this. This re-emergence of Israel as a nation after 19 centuries proves that God is not finished with Israel just yet. Now there are some people who belonged to both, like David and Paul, there are others who only belonged to one, like King Ahab (Israel) or Cornelius (Spiritual Israel). God manifests His physical power on earth via Israel, and God manifests His spiritual power on earth through Spiritual Israel. Be sure never to confuse the two. Temporal blessing was promised to Israel for obedience, whereas grace in trial and tribulation is the promise to Spiritual Israel.
The tribulation period is a period of Godís wrath. Spiritual Israel is never appointed unto Godís wrath (1 Th 5:9), the wrath of man yes, the chastisement of God yes, but the wrath of God no! The tribulation is not meant to be a time of chastisement, it is to be a time where the wrath of God is unleashed, and yet this is even done in love. This would be what is considered the final threshing of man to get the very last kernels of wheat, for God will lose none that are His. When God unfolds His wrath, there is no need for Him to inflict it on those that are already His, simply because they are ALREADY His. The great threshing is to reach those who have refused the offer of grace in a time of ease. Nothing hardens like prosperity, so nothing softens like judgment. Having been softened by the wooing of the Saviour, the tribulation for the already saved serves no purpose, the Lord has already sifted them before the tribulation and found them to be wheat. We also know that God delivers the godly and reserves the unjust for the day of judgment (2 Pet 2:9). The martyrs had many trials and yet through them suffered no wrath from God, but only His mercies (Isa 57:1), even in burning to death their pain was abated. It is those who have rejected God and especially the mercy of His Son (Heb 10:28-29) that He has reserved His wrath for; where the pain is so severe they wish to die and yet are unable to (Rev 9:6), or the fear so great they must hide (Rev 6:15-16).
Before going further, I must address the partial rapture view. It is totally erroneous, and the very statement connotes a works-based righteousness. Those whom Christ delivers, He delivers in full, not just the better ones, not just the over achievers, He delivers ALL of them that are His. If at any point the deliverance is by any other means than the blood of Christ then you can know the doctrine is false. These types of schemes are devised as a means to attempt to deal with the Ďvomitable unsaved pretendersí without having to say they are not saved. Since Christ said it, we ought not have any problem with owning up to that fact either. These VUPís are a haughty bunch, who give Christ much lip service, but none to worry, He will not own them as His.
Who are these wretches you might ask? Apostates, and just who are apostates?
People think of apostasy of a person turning apostate, and losing their salvation, not so. Apostasy is a thorough working of error throughout several generations, so much so that those who think they know God wouldnít even recognize Him. When Christ came the first time, the visible Jewish church did not recognize Him, and even crucified the Lord of Glory; at the time of Christís second coming the visible gentile church as a whole, will be in the same condition. Sure there will be the odd ones saved here and there, just like Nicodemus from the Jewish church, but the apostasy will have worked through so thoroughly that people will be entirely deceived. Because of this deception God pulls the bearing of the gospel from the visible Gentile church, and puts it back in the hands of the descendents of Jacob (Rev 7:3-8) for Danielís seventieth week.
It is fine to talk about things in general, but specifics are usually where the rubber hits the road. I am going to use the Superbowl for an example. It is a heathen abomination that desecrates the Lordís Day, and yet many who profess to be Christís have no higher desires for their soul that day than to partake of this abomination. Is it possible for these people to be saved? Possibly, but at least we know one thing, that whatever their lips say, there is no thirst for Christ in their hearts. And that is definitely not a good thing. I could go on, but suffice to say, apostasy works through the whole just like leaven, and leaves no area untouched.
That apostasy is here today. Unbelievers invaded the seminaries in the early 1900ís, and started producing pastors with doubts of various kinds, in turn these pastors passed these doubts on to the congregations, and ran the cycle a couple times until now we have a visible church of which the major majority are entirely devoid of the Spirit. They talk of Godís blessing them in their homes, and of fine ĎChristian experiencesí, but as a whole their desires are not right. I ask you, during the day, all day, where do your thoughts gravitate to? Summer vacations, TV programs, sports, new car, etc; or do they gravitate to holy things like the person and work of Christ, communion with him through prayer, and the slaying of sin in yourself? You can be sure if it is the former that the apostasy has worked its way through you.
People in this apostate condition, though professing Christ are yet without Him, they are unsaved. These people will enter the tribulation. Let me be clear here, not one of those who are saved will enter the tribulation period, only the apostates. Though others will be saved during this time, the apostates having had access to the gospel through Godís word, and yet explained it away, will be in the most perilous position of facing the strong delusion of God (2 The 2:10-12).
The rider on the white horse in Rev 6:2 is the imitation christ more commonly known as the Antichrist. As an imitator, he does just that, comes in the guise of peace (white horse), and yet war is in his heart (bow). The imitation christ will draw many after himself, setting up the one world government/church/commercial system. At the beginning, this system will attempt to imitate the setting up of the millennial reign of Christ on earth, however mayhem in the skies from the Lord on high, will convince people that this is not the case. Through their ties with the government, the Harlot church comprised of 1 part Roman Catholicism, 1 part apostate Christianity, and 1 part other world religions, will be able to hand out the mark of the beast. To borrow a DL Moody phrase, 'I have an idea' those in the apostate Christianity will gladly receive the mark from their apostate pastor or elder where they would never have thought of receiving it from a government servant. It will be through the sleight of hand with replacement theology and conditioning by other such erroneous eschatology, that apostate Christianity will receive the mark of the beast on their foreheads in an attempt to be saved from the wrath of God (Rev 7:3-4)! From my vantage point this can only be a part of the strong delusion sent of God in 2 The 2:10-12.
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