The 70th Week & its Relation to the Church
Purpose of the 7-year Tribulation Period:
This time of terror is mentioned throughout both the Old & New Testament books of the Bible.
In the O.T. we find it as:
- "..the day of the Lord of hosts.." Isaiah 2:12
- "..the time of Jacob's touble,.." Jeremiah 30:7
- "..the day of the Lord.." Joel 2:1
- "The great day of the Lord.." Zephaniah 1:14-16
- "Behold, the day of the Lord.." Zechariah 14:1
- ",..the day is coming, burning like an oven.." Malachi 4:1
- "This is the day of which I have spoken." Ezekiel 39:8
In the N.T. we find it as:
- "For then there will be great tribulation..." Matthew 24:21
- "...that Day come on you unexpectedly." Luke 21:34
- "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled." Luke 21:22
- "...the day of the Lord..." 1Thessalonians 5:2
- "...for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first,..." 2Thessalonians 2:3
- "..the day of the Lord.." 2Peter 3:10
- "..the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world,.." Revelation 3:10.
(*note: This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, as it can be found in many other places throughout the Bible)
We come to understand that the "hour of trial" is to "try them that dwell upon the earth"(Revelation 3:10). These are the people who have identified themselves with this world, the unsaved. The true nature of the Tribulation period is also disclosed in Isaiah 26:20-21 "Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain." In other words, the Tribulation period is the time in which God will go forth to punish a God and Christ-rejecting world.
Who Goes Through The Tribulation:
All of those people who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their ONE AND ONLY saviour. This is not to say that no one will be saved during the Tribulation period, but many will have to give their life at this time for their faith(Rev.6:9-11, 7:9-17, 13:7, 15). During the Tribulation, many people will be converted by the ministry of the two witnesses and then the ministry of 144,000 male Jewish virgins of the 12 tribes of Israel(Revelation 11:4 see also Zechariah 4:11, 14; Rev.7:3-8, 14:4). Some theologians(scholars, etc.) believe that the 5th seal in Revelation 6:9-11 is the church. But this is an incorrect assumption since these martyrs are crying out for vengeance, which proves that, unlike the church(the bride of Christ), these martyrs are not under the grace Covenant.
The Church's Whereabouts During the Judgements:
We can dogmatically establish that the church WILL NOT GO "THROUGH"(Greek: "dia") ANY PART OF the Tribulation period on the earth! The church will instead be KEPT "FROM"(Greek: "ek") the Tribulation period.
This can be firmly based on the following scripture:
Again, I want to mention that this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the subject as to where it can be found in the Scriptures. For another example which gets right to the point, we find in 2Thessalonians 2:6-7 that the antichrist will not be revealed(see Revelation 6:1-2) until He that which restraineth, is "taken out" of the way. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit which prevents the full development of lawlessness on the earth. Where is the Holy Spirit? In all Christian believers who make up the church! When the church is raptured away to meet Christ in the air, this sets the stage for antichrist to come & take his seat of power. It would be ridiculous to assume that the church will go through the 70th week(Daniel 9:24, 27) when one considers the many proofs given by the Scriptures which says otherwise.
- In Genesis 5:22,24 we find that Enoch walked with God for 300 years & begot sons & daughters, and then he was not, because God took him. A similar incident happens in 2Kings 2:11 with the prophet Elijah.
- We find the deliverance of the just, and the judgment of the wicked during the Great Flood in Genesis chpts. 6-8.
- We find it again in Lot's deliverance from God's judgment upon the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah in Genesis 19:1-29.
- In 1Corinthians 15:51-52, we read "...We shall not all sleep(be dead), but we shall all be changed- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet."(*NOTE: not to be confused with the 7th Trumpet, which is judgmental, not resurrection).
- Revelation 16:15 also proves that the church is not present during the Tribulation period when one considers that 1Thessalonians 5:4 says "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief." Rev. 16:15 is an admonition to the Tribulation Saints to continue in their faith & walk with Jesus Christ.
More Indications & Proof
of the Doctrine of Pre-Millennialism
There are incidents in both the Old Testament and New Testament which certainly point to the two-fold character of Christ's return.
In The O.T.:
- 2 Samuel 19:10-15, 40; 20:1-3 we read of David's return from the other side of Jordan after Absalom and his followers had been defeated, the going forth of Judah to meet him, and their return together to Jerusalem.
- 2 Kings 11:4-12 we read of Joash's(the crowned king of Judah at the time) private orders to the captains and Carites, and his public revelation to the people a little later. "You are to be with the king as he goes out and as he comes in."(2 Kings 11:12)
In The N.T.:
- Matthew 14:22-34 we read of Jesus walking on the water, Peter's coming to Him, and then their return to the boat together.
- Acts 28:15, 16 we read of Paul's approach to Rome, the brethren coming from Rome to meet him, and their return together to the capital city.
Phase 1-Christ's Coming Into the Air:
- 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. This is the most clear-cut explanation of the purpose of Christ's coming into the air first.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1 also speaks of our gathering together to Him.
- John 14:3 says, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may also be."
- In the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, the wise virgins "go forth to meet Him". Matthew 25:6
We therefore can come to the understanding that the first aspect of His coming is with a view to His own(i.e. the Church).
Phase 2-Christ's Coming to the Earth:
- In Zechariah 14:4 we read "his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east."
- In Acts 1:10-11 when Jesus ascends to heaven, we read that "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." He left visibly in the sight of others from Mt. Olivet, and He will visibly return again to the earth at the very same place.
- When He comes back to earth He will come with His own(Joel 3:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 1:14).
"There is just gradation in sorrows of the lost as well as in
the rewards of the righteous. If there is anything in any case to
modify the guilt of sinners, or in any measure to palliate their deficiencies
and crimes, the plain intimation is that every just allowance shall be made...
But the mildest hell is nevertheless 'hell,' and quite too intolerably for any sane
being to be content to make experiment of it." -J. A. Seiss
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