In the Book of Revelation, Jesus gives a message to the Church of Philadelphia –
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. to test those who dwell on the earth. “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” – Rev. 3:10, 11
There is a ‘hour of trial’ that is coming upon the whole world. Jesus said there is a “great tribulation” that is coming –
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” – Matt. 24:21
When will this tribulation begin? Jesus also gives that answer –
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 11:31; 12:11), standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), . . .” – Matt. 24:15
So we know this tribulation will begin when the Antichrist places the abomination of desolation in the Temple in Jerusalem. That also means the Temple must first be rebuilt! These are both things that have not yet happened but, we are to watch for them. But, when it does, the whole world will be affected. Jesus taught that “immediately after this tribulation” (the days of which will be shortened (Matt. 24:22), Jesus’ 2nd coming will occur with angelic shouts, the great sound of the trumpet, and His elect will be gathered from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other!
“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. 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.” – Matt. 24:30, 31
Jesus is saying that the ‘rapture’ will occur after the great tribulation! The Apostle Paul also writes about this.
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” – 2 Thes. 1:3-10
The saints will suffer and be persecuted at the hands of the wicked but they will be rewarded when Jesus is ‘revealed’ (openly shown to the world) and comes with His angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not know God. The elect will be gathered up but the wicked will experience the wrath of God! Paul writes further about this “gathering up” of the saints –
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 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. 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 (perileipomai = to survive) 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1 Thes. 4:13-18
The Greek word translated ‘remain’ is perileipomai, which means to survive! To survive the great tribulation! Saints will be here during the great tribulation and some will be alive when the Lord comes on the clouds and will be raptured, or caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
When will this happen? Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour, but only His Father (Matt. 24:36) but, He said we should know the season of His coming. He berated the multitudes because they did not discern the times –
“Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?” – Luke 12:56
And He called the Pharisees hypocrites because they did not know the signs of the times –
“and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” – Matt. 16:3
Jesus wants us to know the signs of the time. We may not know the exact day or hour but, we are to know the season of His coming! This age, the age of the Church, is coming to an end and when Jesus comes He will usher in a new age, the age of the millennium. He has given us signs to know when this end is approaching.
- Luke 21:24 – “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” When the Church age began, the nation of Israel went into dispersion and Jesus said it would last until the Gentiles no longer controlled Jerusalem. This began to be fulfilled in 1967 when Israel took back Jerusalem and was fulfilled in 2017 when President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem the eternal Capital of Israel and move the USA Embassy there.
- Rom. 11:25 – “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” This blindness is being removed. In 1970 Jews for Jesus was founded by a Jew and has reached thousands of Jews for Jesus. Sid Roth, a Jew, is heard around the world preaching to Jews. There are now over 70 Messianic Congregations in Israel. This blindness is being removed. The fulness of the Gentiles coming in is near.
- Matt. 24:13 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” With the advent of radio and television and the internet, the Gospel is now being preached to every nation and people on earth.
- Matt. 24:32-35 – “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Scriptures liken Israel to a fig tree. God said, “When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.” – Hosea 9:10
We may not know the Day or the Hour but, we can know the season, in fact, Jesus expects us to know. It is time to watch and pray and lift up our head, for our Redemption draws near!
The author of the Book of Hebrews writes –
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Heb. 10:24, 25
What Day? The Day of the Lord’s coming of course. Jesus said watch and pray, Paul says “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”. In other words, don’t hide your light under a bushel but instead be light and salt to the world. Press in and work harder to show the glory of the Lord.
Did you notice that when the spirit of Antichrist attacked us with the virus, one of the first things he did was shut down Churches? Satan knows who has the ability to comfort, encourage, and heal – the Church! Don’t be fooled, draw together even more and let the Holy Spirit edify you in fellowship.
Well, the signs of the Lord’s soon coming are all around us so, I encourage you to press in like the Philadelphia Church; keep the word of the Lord and don’t deny His name and persevere. God bless you.