Most Christians recognize just two groups of people in the present time or the end times: the saved and the damned today, and later, the raptured and "left behind." But Jesus and Bible prophecy do not describe it so narrowly. There will be not just two, but four groups we can fall into for most of the final seven years. Find out what these end time categories are, which one you’ll likely fall into (it’s not what you think), and what to do today to help you make it into the right group later. Also who the mysterious "Woman" of Revelation 12 is...
Any reader who has tried to understand the Book of Revelation can relate to how lost the book can leave you feeling. Sometimes what you read unavoidably leads you to a very depressing conclusion.
Only 144,000 Saved From the End Times?
For example, I still remember how much my first impression of Revelation's 144,000 bothered me. The 144,000 are introduced right after the description of the 6th seal great global earthquake and the question of “who shall be able to stand?” through it (Rev 6:12-17). The 144,000 are then introduced and sealed by angels with protection (Rev 7:1-8) just before four more trumpets of trouble come. These take the form of various objects from space, like Star Wormwood, which either impact or in other ways violently disturb the earth (Rev 8:1-8:13). It is important to note that this entire series of catastrophes from 6th seal through the 4th trumpet are pretrib, coming before the Rapture or the Great Tribulation do.
At this point, you probably see the problem I did. The 144,000 are the only ones mentioned as protected while these earthquakes, meteorites, asteroids, fires, and tsunamis smite the entire earth (Rev 6:12-8:13). Since there are maybe 2.5 billion Christians alive today, 144,000 seemed like a ridiculously small number of people to receive God's protection. How could only 144,000 of those “with the faith/testimony of Jesus” (Rev 12:17=14:12) be protected by God?
And, more to the heart of the matter, what chance do I (or you) have of making it into such a relatively obscure group?
This scenario was certainly hard to accept. I had to force myself to believe what it seemed to plainly say. In fact, I still have an email I wrote to a Christian friend at the time warning him of how important it was to study the Bible for himself as so few were going to make it when the end times come.
Other Groups - Four In All
What I was missing then that I discovered much later was another group encompassing righteous servants of God. This group was less prominent in Revelation and very cryptic. In all, I found four different groups or outcomes that people alive today can find themselves in when Jesus comes back. This was different than the popular Christian teaching that there is just those raptured and those “left behind.”
The four groups that I found are:
- The Marked
- The Martyred
- The Woman (a mother, in fact)
- The 144,000
Let's look at the groups and the misconceptions about them. We'll begin with the clearest groups and finish with the hardest group of the 144,000—the last group I came to understand properly because an understanding of the 144,000 depends on nailing the other groups first.
Group #1: The Marked
Revelation 13:16-17 (HCSB) — 16 And he requires everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name.
The easiest group of all to understand is the one subjected to something that Christians dread: the Mark of the Beast. These are the people who take the Mark of the Beast at the start of the Great Tribulation. When the Antichrist takes power for the final 3½ years, he will turn the world into a completely controlled society. All will be required to worship the Beast and his image or statue (2Th 2:4; Rev 13:15) or be killed. People without the mark will be unable to buy or sell (Rev 13:16-17).
People in this group will have, for whatever reason, missed out on God's escape from the Great Tribulation. They end up “left behind” as the popular phrase goes. We will see later that everyone in the world received a fair warning that this was coming. The people in this group either did not believe it or did not have the faith to take action needed to avoid it. By the time the Antichrist comes on the scene, the delusion that he is God will be so strong that most will be convinced that he is the savior of the world and be willing to worship him and take his mark in exchange for food and safety (Mt 24:24).
Common misconception: Some Christians fear that they can be effectively added to this group accidentally or without their knowledge or permission (much like “friends” can do to us on Facebook). But if you read Revelation 13, a much different picture emerges. The mark is put out by the False Prophet as part of the required worship of the Beast and his image. When you have it, you can buy and sell. When you don't, you cannot. Therefore, it will not be something you do not know you have or do not know about in advance. In fact, there appears to be a plan to torture people who refuse to take it, something that would be wholly unnecessary if the mark could be slapped on people without their consent.
Group #2: The Martyred
Revelation 13:15 (HCSB) — He was permitted to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Once the Beast comes to power, people will have only two options: die or comply. The preferable option of escape will be gone once the mark is released. As I explained in a previous article, once you see the mark, it will be too late. You will have to either compromise your principles and take the mark despite you knowing it is wrong, or to face your death as a martyr.
Common misconception: It would seem like you have to be an unwise or disobedient servant of God to end up in the situation where you are killed by the Beast and should lose your reward for this. While it may be true that people who have to face the mark ignored multiple public warnings to arrive at that point (Rev 14:9), thankfully if we read on we find that God does not penalize us so dearly for that:
Revelation 20:4 (HCSB) — Then I saw thrones, and people seated on them who were given authority to judge. ⌊I⌋ also ⌊saw⌋ the people, who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of God’s word, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and who had not accepted the mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with the Messiah for 1,000 years
The choices and their consequences are pretty clear. If you take the mark you avoid the Beast's death penalty but you will go through the wrath of God when Jesus comes back (Rev 14:10-11). You also miss out on being the bride of Christ ruling in the Kingdom of God during the Millennium. Conversely, refusing the mark and accepting your death may be very hard to face and difficult to do, but it will mean you still make it into the Kingdom when you are resurrected 3½ years later.
Obviously, the best choice would be to flee to safety before the mark is even issued. That brings us to the next group, the one that I overlooked when I first considered the 144,000 the only ones saved.
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!
Group #3: The Woman
The next group is of great interest because, just as we saw with the 144,000 earlier, it plainly receives protection from God during the end times events:
Revelation 12:13-17 (HCSB) — 13 When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child [Jesus]. 14 The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time [3½ years]. 15 From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth.
Who is this mystery “woman” that God clearly protects from the Devil's attacks? She is is introduced and portrayed in Revelation 12 in a very convoluted way.
Revelation 12:1-5 (HCSB) — 1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony ⌊as she was about⌋ to give birth. 5 ...she gave birth to a Son—a male who is going to shepherd all nations with an iron scepter—and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
The Woman starts out in the sky as a clear representation of the constellation Virgo, or the Virgin. The moon at her feet and twelve stars crowning her head (and her birth of the obvious Messiah man-child) identify her as the righteous of Israel per Joseph’s dream of his family (Gen 37:9-10=Rev 12:1). The other reason for this sky scene is because it may be depicting exactly what was in the sky when the Messiah was born.
With the birth of the Messiah, the motherly Woman's true domain is revealed to be the earth; she's not only a literal sign of a woman in the sky. Moving from the birth of the Messiah to the end times (as indicated by Satan's casting down with great wrath), the Woman escapes to the wilderness, by way of two eagle's wings.
Common misconception: Many people when reading about the Woman for the first time come away with the impression that she represents only the modern descendants of Israel. This is understandable given the Woman is tied to Israel through symbolism. To be sure, this thinking is the reason I discounted the Woman as having anything to do with Gentiles and why I was forced to conclude that our only shot of having protection from Wormwood was to be among the 144,000.
However, there is a principle taught throughout the Bible saying that God is not a respecter of persons, or he shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34). He saves both Jew and Greek or Gentile (Rom 1:16). Jesus even healed the Syrophoenician woman's daughter after initially rejecting her with the excuse that he was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt 15:26). Therefore, there is no problem with the Woman being full of references to Israel; it's normal. Most of the Bible is told through the perspective of Israel and other groups are mentioned often only as they come in contact with her.
Further, bearing out this principle, we read in Joel that "and everyone who calls upon the name of Yahweh [Yehovah] shall be saved for there will be an escape for those in Mount Zion" (Joel 2:32 HCSB). Joel's prophecy of the moon turning to blood is a parallel of the 6th seal blood moon event (Joel 2:31=Rev 6:12), caused when planet Wormwood begins to terrorize the earth. Since this threat comes before the Tribulation threat, obviously there would be no Woman left if she was not included in "everyone calling on God" who is protected in Israel. If God plans to protect all those who rely on God from Wormwood, then it makes no sense that he would not do the very same thing for them from the Antichrist threat that follows.
Therefore, we can be sure that if modern righteous Israelites will be brought to safety with miraculous “eagles wings,” then so will righteous Gentiles who have the faith to join with them.
Group #4: The 144,000
Finally, we come to the group discussed first earlier: the 144,000.
Revelation 7:2-4 (HCSB) — 2 Then I saw another angel, who had the seal of the living God rise up from the east. He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were empowered to harm the earth and the sea: 3 “Don’t harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 sealed from every tribe of the Israelites:
The 144,000 come from all twelve tribes, including the "lost ten tribes" of northern Israel and not just the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi that constitute the Jews today. Verse four means what it says which includes the tribe of Dan.
After understanding the Woman, it becomes possible to grasp the reason for the special protection of the 144,000. Note first that the 144,000 are called out of the Woman group as the referral to them as her "offspring" implies (Rev 12:17). Like the Woman, they are gathered to Judea where they are sealed (Rev 14:1=Joel 2:32=Mt 24:16). However, if their mission were to remain in the protected place with the Woman throughout the end-time, then they would not need any additional special protection. We can be sure they do not stay there but go on out into the world where the Beast reigns because of this passage:
Revelation 9:1-3 (HCSB) — 1 The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth. The key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him. 2 He opened the shaft of the abyss, and smoke came up out of the shaft like smoke from a great furnace so that the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then locusts came out of the smoke on to the earth, and power was given to them like the power that scorpions have on the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green plant, or any tree, but only people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads [i.e., anyone not the 144,000 (and by extension, the Woman, who is also protected another way)].
The locusts from the abyss are specifically prevented from touching the 144,000 because of their special seal. Here's an additional verse that only later did I discover was about the 144,000:
Revelation 12:17 (HCSB) — So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.
Those who the dragon makes war on are not just normal secular people left behind. These are righteous believers in Jesus just as the Woman also is. Of course, Satan will be unable to touch them, too. (It's interesting how it calls them the woman's offspring. That doubly makes her a mother of sorts.)
I believe the mission of the 144,000 (along with Elijah) is to warn the world of what is coming (Wormwood and the Great Tribulation) and what to do to escape and to fulfill the prophecy of Jesus that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached in the whole world as a witness before the end comes (Mt 24:14). Since the entire world will be under the ruthless totalitarian oppression of the Beast for the last 3½ years before the end, any servants of God would need special protection like the 144,000 will have. In fact, right after the second mention of the 144,000 in Revelation (Rev 14:1-5), we have angels delivering three messages to be preached to the world, starting with the “everlasting Gospel” (Rev 14:6-12). Since God has always delivered his messages to righteous men to then deliver to the rest of the world, I expect the 144,000 will receive the messages from the angels and do just that.
Common misconception: Many take the 144,000 to be a symbolic number, rather than a literal number as I have. It is not hard to imagine why this is given the difficulties already discussed with making sense of the 144,000. If we think they are the only ones saved and we do not understand the Woman, then another way to resolve the dilemma would be to decide that the 144,000 is not to be taken literally. However, given the 144,000 are really just a special group tasked with being witnesses to the Beast's empire and not the only ones saved by far, there is no problem accepting it as a literal number.
On the other hand, there is one passage in Revelation about the 144,000 that is plainly not literal, unlike the majority of the rest of Revelation:
Rev 14:4 (KJV) — These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
Right away we have indications that this is allegorical. The Lamb they follow is obviously Christ, not a literal lamb. In modern use virginity can be applied to men, but traditionally and especially biblically only women can have the status of being virgins. (Men don't have hymens.) Plus, sex with women in general does not defile men so that they must completely refrain from it to not be defiled (the context is not immoral or premarital sex but all sex). Instead, the Bible calls sex very good, not a dirty or defiling thing. Obviously, a non-literal spiritual meaning is intended here as well. In the Bible, virginity (2Kg 19:21) is used metaphorically for righteousness while sexual adultery is compared to worshiping idols (Jer 2:20; Rev 2:20-22). Therefore, the meaning of virgin men following the lamb would be righteous individuals who follow the Word of God directly instead of religious systems with man made rules and regulations that depart from the word of God (which are the modern equivalent of man made idol worship that adultery is compared to).
What About the Two Witnesses?
By the way, I count the Two Witnesses (Rev 11) as being in the same group as the 144,000, rather than considering them a fifth group. The Two Witnesses are very similar to the 144,000 in how they have portable standalone protection that allows them to be out in the Beast's kingdom serving as a witness against him. The main difference would be a minor one in that unlike the 144,000, they have a fixed post at Jerusalem.
Another difference is that they are preselected to become martyrs at the end of their testimony, 3½ days before the conclusion of the Great Tribulation on the Feast of Trumpets. Although this sounds like an unattractive end to their witness, for them it will be an honor to be accounted worthy to witness in this way (Act 5:41). Perhaps for this reason also they will have the additional honor of being the first two among the dead in Christ to be resurrected (Rev 11:12).
What To Do Today For End Time Safety
At this point you probably agree that the best hope and chance for most of us is to be part of the Woman. The question then is, how do we make sure we do not miss this group and end up as one of the martyred, or God forbid, the marked?
Years ago, at this point I would have stressed the importance of studying the Bible to be prepared for what is coming including building your discernment to not be deceived in the end. Certainly the warnings in Bible prophecy were not put there to be ignored but to be understood. Are they not there to be followed by God's servants when the time comes?
In recent years, however, I've reconsidered that Bible purpose paradigm. I've come to realize that the Bible or understanding of it cannot possibly be a prerequisite for end time survival. Here's why: First of all, not everyone has a Bible or believes it to be the Word of God containing end time instructions. Further, as we have already touched on, end time Bible prophecy is extremely hard to understand. What's worse, it is never easy to be sure you are right about your understanding or to confirm its correctness.
So why learn and discuss prophecy if it is so problematic? I believe that the study of prophecy (like the study of the rest of the Bible) still lends wisdom and understanding that can help you in your life today and also in the end times. It is beneficial to know ahead of time what is coming so you can prepare mentally and psychologically. But it's simply not necessary, nor can it be, or so many people who doubt the Bible or simply struggle to understand are already lost before the end times come.
These days I have come to see that the important thing for end times survival is not how much of the Bible we understand or how much physical preparation we do, but rather how much we practice two simple things: faith and love.
It's going to take faith to obey God and leave our homes for the faraway safe place of the Woman. It probably will not even look like it's a good idea to go or a good place to go to at the time, much like the Promised Land looked at first to most of the twelve spies (due to the giants there). If we live by trust that God is there and wants to reward us for seeking him (Heb 11:6) then that faith muscle will be built up and ready for the leap of faith needed to escape Wormwood and the Mark of the Beast.
Practicing the love of our neighbors as ourselves today is another way to have better success in the end times, although in a slightly different way. Loving your neighbor fulfills the law or commandments of God (Mt 7:12; 22:40; Rom 13:8,10; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8), pleasing God just as faith pleases him (Heb 11:6). The elegant part about this is that we do not need a Bible to know that to act with integrity and treat others with love (rather than indifference or judgment) must please the God who made us all; it is logical since we are all children of a God who made us. To act this way wins favor with everyone (Acts 2:47), Bible reader or not; the secular and religious agree on the ethic of reciprocity or Golden Rule, as each calls it, respectively. How this helps us in the end is revealed in the Bible: God will make sure we get help in a time of trouble if we're loving his children or “little ones,” as Jesus called the weak (Ps 37:39; 41:1).
When the end-time comes and interrupts us from our normal habit of walking in faith towards God and loving our neighbor as ourselves, whatever deficiencies we have in knowledge, discernment or strength will be compensated for by God. He will make up the difference because we focused on weightier matters. An emphasis on faith and love rather than doctrine or knowledge is the best way to get God's help to end up in the right group in the end times (and not to mention blessings and peace for today as well).
Update: How Is the Woman Protected?
Do you wonder how and where God protects the people of the Woman category? For that see these later two articles on the two phases of God's plan to gather and regather (Zeph 2:1):
- Protection from little known or understood "Beginning of Birth Pains" (in the first half of the 70th week)
- Protection from Antichrist during more popularly known 1260 Day Great Tribulation
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Thanks for your work here. I continue to hold it for confirmation in scripture and the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I cannot find your answer to this question but please point me to it if you have written on it with my apologies for wasting space and time.
Does the 144,000 include all 12 tribes or Israel or just 144,000 people present in Israel at the time?
If from members of the 12 tribes, I believe we have lost track of 10 tribes. If so, how will they be found and added to this group or is my definition too restrictive?Reply
Thanks for your comment which prompted me to update this article with my latest understanding (which you may want to refresh and reread). Yes, the 144,000 includes all the tribes including Dan as I cover in this article. Yes, the northern ten tribes lost their identity unlike the southern Jewish house (Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) but God knows who they are. Out of those gathered to Judea in obedience, you can bet God will have 144,000 fit men to seal and send out for the four-year mission.Reply
Hi Tim and all.
Just two thoughts about the article and recent comments:
1. The Rev 12 sign of the Woman in the heavens actually happened on September 23, 2017. I believe this is a heads-up that the establishment of the Beast power is at the door and the Woman (group) must prepare themselves for the Wilderness. You might want to add this info as an addendum to this article.
2. Yahweh always provides two witnesses against this sinning world, a pattern that points to the echad relationship between the Father and the Son. We had Moses/Aaron, the law and the testimony (spirit), king (Zerubbabel) and priest (Joshua), old covenant/new covenant, Peter/Paul, the 2 witnesses of Rev (Michael and Gabriel IMHO), etc. The 144k will be two physical groups of believers (2×72) that will act as witnesses to the world while M&G content with the Beast in Jerusalem. The 144k will travel in pairs, just like the original 72. In the 1st century, Paul’s work was the second witness…..the 72 went to the lost sheep of Israel and Paul to the gentiles.
Satan has always copied the things of God, so he’ll have his two witnesses as well…..the beast and false prophet (the king/priest combo).
Just wanted to share these thoughts as we have probably entered the end-time for sure as we have many signs to confirm….the blood moons at feast times, the Tabernacle of David found in 2014/15, the Rev 12 sign in 2017, Jews sacrificing a lamb this past Passover (rejection of Yahshua) and demising the Sabbath in the Holy Land, Trump’s Mid-East peace plan coming, etc. Time to be watching and preparing yourself for your Wilderness experience.
Blessings to all.
Jake, the sky scene as described in Rev 12 (not the embellished and hyped version) happens regularly, not just in 2017. Agreed on the 144,000 going in pairs. But the “4 blood moons” also were not in the Bible. The sign to look for that everyone ignores is Mt 24:14, the good news of the kingdom being preached again, worldwide.Reply
This may have already been said somewhere, but the 144K always reminds me of Luke 10 where the 72 return to Jesus. As you said, Jesus sent men out ahead of him to spread the gospel. Not to mention 72*2=144. But what gets me is Luke 10:18-19 where Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
It’s like Jesus is speaking to the 144K too, especially since Satan falls from the sky in Revelation 9 at the fifth trumpet after the 144K were sealed, followed directly by his locusts from the Abyss that are given “power like that of scorpions.”
It’s clear to me the two are connected. What do you think? The Bible is too cool.
Caroline, yes, exactly the 72 and 144,000 are obviously connected given the math and I saw this and wrote about it in 2005 in my writings that later became Know the Future. Jesus was speaking prophetically to the 72 in a message that also applied to later group since the 72 never fulfilled what he said such as being around until the “Son of Man returns.” Please review your copy of Know the Future in Part 3 for more on this.Reply
Im curious to know why you skipped right over the comment of “Israel Is the 10 northern tribes that inhabit the Christian nations of today, the Jews are of Judaea
New Zealand and others
and the comment of
George, Are you saying the 10 northern tribes that inhabit the Christians nations of today, are all Caucasians?
Now is not the time to be P.C.Reply
Try out Ephesians 1-13 .
beheading is the quickest least paianful manner by which ot be executed.
He’ll not suffer for even one of his to be lost 1 foot from the finish line, the prize, the safe harbor, our Mansion in his Kingdom.
Please give us your take on ths Tim.
I always enjoy reading your articles….they challenge me to think and do more research.
We may have to agree to disagree on your interpretation of who the “woman” is.
I believe The “woman” is Mary and then later represents the people Mary comes from, Israel. This was made very clear to me by reading Jospeh’s dream in Genesis 37. This should open your eyes to a JEWISH interpretation.
She (Mary) was with child, being obviously Jesus., and gave birth to a son, obviously Mary bearing Jesus. And then when you get to Rev 12:6….”and the WOMAN fled into the wilderness where she was protected for 1260days….” there is a change.
This now can’t be literal Mary, so here it is to be interpreted as the people Mary represents- Israel. This has nothing to do with gentiles or the church. Your basis for making it be that in my opinion is a stretch in order to support what you believe. In my opinion, I believe it was done in error.
One last point….in Rev 9 when the locusts come out and do their sting thing, the Bible says only the 144,000 are protected (sealed on their foreheads) from the havoc rendered by the locusts. Nowhere in scripture does it say the “woman” is sealed on her forehead. I believe the “woman” won’t have to fret over the locusts though because they are being divinely protected “in the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God….”. (Rev 12: 6)
Where then is the Church you ask? I believe they are gone, raptured, and probably at the Bema Seat of Judgement receiving their just rewards, if any.
Anyhow, I didn’t say my interpretation is the RIGHT one….it might not be, but it is the best one I have for now. Always searching, always reading.
Paul, thanks, it’s all good. I would never expect a pretribber to come to or agree with the conclusions I share in this article and many others. Getting the rapture in the only place it fits when reading Scripture literally was a prerequisite to seeing the things my research has led me to conclude. (There is no literal verse stating the rapture comes before the tribulation although several plainly set the order as tribulation, resurrection/rapture, wrath of God.)
If you think the church is in heaven at the start of Revelation, then you will miss all the places the saints are indicated plainly like the Woman = “those who keep the commands of God and have the faith of Jesus.” Those aren’t Jews or Gentiles; they are saints coming out of both Jews and Gentiles, not limited to Israel although righteous family of Israel was the template from Joseph’s dream of the sun, moon and 12 stars.
But we agree more than you think. We agree on the Woman changing who it represents in heaven and then on earth. Mary, Israel. We diverge when you limit the Woman to only Israel instead of seeing that God uses Israel for a model but is not a “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) but will save “ALL who call upon his name” in the end times (Joel 2:32).
Yes, we agree the Woman is not sealed with protection! If you are in a place Satan himself cannot reach, then no locusts can either. Hence, no need for this seal of protection as the entire place prepared is protected from ALL evil attacks as the text plainly says.Reply
Thanks for the quick reply Tim.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve thrown myself completely in one camp because I am always reading the scriptures through different filters -pre trip, pre wrath, post trib, and mid trib, and I’ve been known to lean different ways. And I read lots of books, like yours, to see why people believe what they believe. So, I am definitely not closed minded, just cautious in my interpreting of the Holy Word.
Over my 30+ years in studying Bible prophecy, I have found so many good points in all these doctrines. But yes, as of today, I probably do lean more toward a pre trib rapture perspective because I see Daniels 70 weeks of prophecy being meant only for ISRAEL, NOT THE CHURCH. Doesn’t Jeremiah 30-31 call it “the time of Jacobs trouble?” So why include the church? In addition, I think the church may be the restrainer that is holding the antichrist back from doing his thing. And lastly for now, I believe God Promised we would not experience HIS WRATH which begins when Jesus opens the book and breaks the seals open. I just can’t buy your explanation that all faithful Christians will be airlifted to somewhere in Jordan. That seems absurd to me with far to many holes for my liking.
I believe the post trib’s greatest scripture verse is Matt 24: 29-31, “immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days…..and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear….” can be simply explained…….
Very simply, I don’t see this as the rapture but rather the second coming of Christ to come down and clean things up before he begins his Millenial Rule on Earth. Well, anyhow, I’ve said enough. I appreciate any words you have in rebuttal and I always consider them prayerfully. Like I said, I’m not trying to win an argument; I’m merely trying to be challenged to consider perspectives I may have missed. I always read your articles over and over so know that I am listening. And thank you for your love for the Lord, His Word, and for the sheep. Blessings going out your way my brother in Christ.
Paul, there is an answer for all the pretrib passages since none of them talk about the “rapture before the Tribulation” explicitly but all require a predetermined concept of there being a pretrib rapture before leveraging the passage for thin support of the idea.
The time of Jacob’s trouble passage is misquoted by you and by most. It says it’s the time of “EVEN Jacob’s trouble.” It’s a time so bad it affects even Jacob, not only Jacob. It’s referring to God’s wrath, not even the Great Tribulation (Jer 30:6-7=Isa 13:6-9).Reply
Are you saying that “The Women” and the 144,000 are protected from the locusts of Revelation 9 but all other believers who did not escape to the wilderness will be tortured by the Locusts because they do not have the seal of God on their foreheads yet?Reply
Julie, exactly. If you are among those protects (144,000 everywhere or the Woman in one place) then you will be tormented by the locusts into taking the mark of the beast or choosing martyrdom.Reply
Dear Tim I salute you in Jesus Christ name our savior. I want to thank you for been a light unto the world. Many think with their mind but lack wisdom in their hearts and spirit due to lack of faith. You are a true leader of our Lord in heaven. I am proud of you for explaining the Holy Gospel and bringing out the good news of our savior. We all are children of our creator and truly Love and Faith are the basics of eternal salvation . Many worry about things of this world and seem lost in confusion. All we need is to love and worship God with all our hearts and mind. By been compassionate with one another helping ourselves everyday. Forgiven all our faults by living as bothers and sisters in piece and harmony. I pray for you and everybody that loves our Lord. God bless you always. Rejoice in heaven.Reply
First I would like to thank you Tim for sharing with all your insight. I believe that so often we don’t show a thankful attitude, instead we make it a mission in attempting to point out what we think is anothers inaccuracies. I am a student of life, I am constantly evolving and learning. I found your article very informative, thank you again for your insight….however it leaves me with an unanswered question that I have tried without success to solve for a while now. The 144,000. I believe that it is a literal number – for the most part, but then I am left wonder whether or not it is also as a reference? My reason is that when we talk about receiving the ‘mark of protection’ (please correct me if I’m wrong) the Angel’s are to ‘mark’ 144,000 from each of the 12 Tribes, this ends up being 1,728,000. Please, help me understand this.Reply
It’s 144,000 from 12 tribes (144000 / 12), not 144,000 from each tribe (144000 x 12).Reply
Why do you say it’s not necessary to read the Bible about how to love. The Bible renews or mind and builds our faith. It tells us how to love by telling people the truth. An adulterous person is destined to hell unless they repent. The ultimate form of love is helping someone turn from sin. Sometimes the Bible instructs us to use tough love which may not look like love at all but necessary for correcting a person. Praying for our enemies is the toughest thing to do but also a form of love. People do not know how to love God’s way unless they are instructed.Reply
Cindy, if the Bible was “necessary to tell us how to love” then where does that leave the majority of humanity in history and today who do not know this special purpose you do or have access to a Bible? I think your concept of the purpose and necessity of Bible needs revision.Reply
Peace be with you, I wish this articles where also available in spanish.Reply
These “articles” are VERY thought provoking! As you mentioned, “end times” study is difficult. I really appreciate your hard work and studies that you share. My question is, Where does it say we will be tortured for NOT taking the mark of the beast. I was under the impression the torture and beheading stuff came from refusing to “worship” the beast. The mark had to be taken willingly. I LEAN toward the -smart phone credit card- scenario as the coming “mark”! (always in your” hand” , taken willingly and capitulating to be able to buy and sell “head”). That takes into account our new dependency on the recent “electronic cyber cloud permanent record keeping and of world super computers and individual access to this technology.Reply
Abe, taking the mark and worshiping the Beast/Antichrist are made equivalent in Rev 13 (Rev 13:15=Rev 13:16). You die if you refuse either, and you won’t be alive to worship the Beast without the mark. But yes, you must consent to the mark, they can’t just put it on you against your will…but that doesn’t mean they can’t torture you. That the torturing (but not murdering, at least not at first in an attempt to get the most marked people possible) locusts commence at the same time as the Great Tribulation and the introduction of the mark tells me that their job is to find every person and compel them through pain to take the mark. Joel even describes these same locusts as able to find and break into every hideout (Joel 2:3,5,9). Five months later (Rev 9:5), they have everyone found and marked or killed by beheading (Rev 20:4). See this article for more. Whatever the mark is, it’s not here yet and when it does come, we won’t get to see it because God will have us safely in Jordan by then.Reply
Could the mark of the beast be the chip that they are looking to put in people in order to buy sell and trade? Right now it’s starting to be on our credit cards in our banks cards but putting it in our hand with help from our idenity being stolen, correct ?I really do not want to be fooled into taking the mark if it’s the chipReply
Debbie, no, the mark is not anything not tied to worship of the Beast who is not here yet. Don’t fear chips or cards or anything else unless you end up left behind for lack of faith.Reply
Wow.! Thank you for the quick response. I am a very strong believer and have little fear of being Left Behind, I’m not perfect lol and I do get worried sometimes, but I just want to be sure I’m aware enough to not take that mark, if it happens before the rapture. This was a great article by the way and I am going to share it on Facebook. Thank you for all your research and taking the time to share it with us… for free And not trying to make a profit off of what God has revealed to you . God Bless!!Reply
safe halo in glory and righteousness salvation and saved indeed.amenReply
Can you please explain the scripture to me that says Luke 21:34-37 But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
Tracey, I have this article on how Lk 21:36 verse has two readings and it’s important to read the better one to understand. Once you read that, then read this to understand why you need strength to escape (no pretrib rapture, but escape on earth).Reply
Thank you for these thought provoking writings.
I’m struggling (and have for years!) with ‘how to love’… So much so that my heart literally aches!
What is this ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ really look like in action?
Does it mean to become a doormat and never being argumentative … or to just accept the wrong people do and offer no counsel?
Currently my daughter is married to a Muslim, has converted to Islam, and will be moving to Bahrain – and though this grieves my heart, I have not rejected her as some Christians feel I should – making me feel I’m loving my daughter more than Christ. Naturally I have allowed this to play with my emotions. Some days are better than others, but I’d be dishonest if I didn’t aknowkedge that I wonder if there’s truth to that… am I seeking peace with my daughter more than loving my Maker, and just deceived by my emotions. Whew
I have in the past, reached out to you in regards to my daughter – thank you… though I have since forgotten your words. Sorry.
Sherry, Love includes loving boundaries, yes, when people wrong you. What it looks like is a big question, did you see my latest article on the four warnings of Jesus where I give more examples?
But in the example of your daughter, to reject her as other Christians say is not love. She has a different religion than you, that does not make her unlovable. Jesus accepted everyone even the people in his day with a different religion: the pharisees. He even ate with them.
Seeking peace with your daughter is loving your maker. He does not say to hate Muslims. Christians say that, but not God. He says to love them, even if you consider them enemies as many Christians do.
The support team articles should help you review the radical love that Jesus taught and how to be different from the world who is not giving you good advice, but religious-programmed responses like “hate/fear Muslims.”Reply
So, if I am understanding your article, you do not see a rapture of the church before the tribulation begins? It makes me wonder how we are to know that the tribulation has indeed begun. I was raised to believe in the rapture first, but to say I don’t know everything is an understatement.
Also, I have always believed that the 144,000 were actual Jews who would come to know Yeshua (Jesus) as the true Messiah. 12,000 from each tribe… thoughts???
I do appreciate what you say about the signs in the heavens. A person could make anything fit…. In 2012 the world was freaking out about the end of the Mayan calendar.
You’re a great writer, and I look forward to reading more of your articles
Aly, yes, according to Jesus and Paul, the rapture comes “after the tribulation of those days” (Mt 24:29). Look at my rapture articles below for more on that. Knowing when the Tribulation begins is not the problem as “Elijah comes first” (Mark 9:12) and warn the world (Mal 4:5).
Yes, the 144,000 are actual Israelites, only 24,000 of which could be technically called Jews.
Here’s my rapture articles:
Hi from “beyond the morass rivers of Ethiopia…..Zeph.3: 10.What makes you believe that the Jews are literal Israel…who was Zephaniah referring to in his prophecy, Ethiopians ? or possibly Jews living in Southern Africa…or is it a downtrodden people that the world has despised because they were resolute in not mixing their bloodlines?Regards, iwetherall@ gmail.comReply
Where in bible prophecy does it say the Jews who are there “now” are the true Hebrew Israelites? Why does revelations say they are not?Reply
Francis, See Are Israel’s Jews Fake, Khazar or Edomite Jews? for the proof Israel today is true Judah.
Revelation 3’s letters you are quoting talk about people in the church back in the early centuries who say they are Jews and are not. It also has a mention of those who say they are apostles and are not. Well first it was about people long ago, not today. Secondly, Jews of Israel today are not believers in the church anyway or trying to be. Mostly they don’t believe. So Revelation is just not talking about Israel when it says those who say they are Jews and are not, yes?Reply
Israel I’sthe 10 northern tribes that inhabit the Christian nations of today, the Jews are of Judaea
New Zealand and others
George, Are you saying the 10 northern tribes that inhabit the Christians nations of today, are all Caucasians?Reply
When I think about the 120,000 from the ten ‘lost’ tribes, it makes me wonder how many of those from the US, Europe or elsewhere who faithfully gather in Judea will then, possibly to their surprise?, be called to be part of that select group? What an awesome and humbling call that would be.Reply
Also, Tim, do you see them going to the 72 nations (1000 pairs to each of them) as described in the OT? It would be interesting to see how that’s divided up in modern times. Are we sure the 144,000 will all be male?
Lastly, I can’t even begin to imagine the divinely appointed adventures they will experience in the 3 1/2 years they will be out in Satan’s playground. Wow. And we thought Acts makes a good read!