Now, we turn to the scriptures to reveal another "World Divided", which is an extension of the idea above - this time based on the concept of "light" and "darkness":
"Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
While people are saying "peace and safety", destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you brothers, are not in darkness so that this day would surprise you like a thief. You are sons of light and sons of the day.
We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5)
"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Lets see this stark contrast in two types of people: Those who belong to the "light" as contrasted with those who belong to the "darkness". This could also be stated as a contrast between church saints and the unsaved.
It is also important to keep in mind that the "Day of the Lord" is a reference to the Tribulation, a time which will be defined by and characterized by darkness (Amos 5:18).
Look at the contrasts revealed by this passage:
1. Paul used the pronouns "ye", "yourselves", "you", "we", "us", and "our" to refer to the church saints. By contrast, he used "they" and "them" to refer to the unsaved. The direct address "you brothers" underscores this contrast.
2. The church saints are not "in" darkness - a darkness we know biblically as a place known to be ruled by evil (Eph. 6:12) and a darkness that creates the inability to see reality, the true purpose of life through God etc., and therefore oblivious to the coming judgment.
By contrast, church saints are not in the sphere of darkness, as our alignment with God - who represents light (1 John 1:5) - and through Jesus who is the light of the world (John 8:12) has created a scenario in which we live in the light and are destined for the light.
As stated by Renald Showers in "Maranatha: Our Lord Come" (full reference below) we see the following quote as it relates to the Tribulation which is coming suddenly and unexpectedly like "a thief in the night" to those in the darkness:
"it appears that in the second half of verse 4 Paul was saying that as a result of church saints being delivered from the sphere of darkness and placed into the sphere of light, the coming-as-a-thief phase will not overtake them. Since that phase will be characterized by darkness, it is reserved for those who are in the sphere of darkness, not for those who are in the sphere of light. Amos 5:18-20 indicates that darkness will be the total nature of the Day of the Lord for the unsaved. Thus, it is upon "them" (the unsaved in darkness), not "you" (the church saints in light), that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the sight with sudden destruction."
3. Outcome: Saved vs Unsaved. In this passage, Paul makes one point abundantly clear: The "unsaved" will be overtaken by and, by definition, will experience the Day of the Lord, also known as the Tribulation. By contrast, the "saved" are appointed to a completely different destiny.
And how does one obtain this different destiny? Or better stated, how does one escape this coming Tribulation?
"God did not appoint us to suffer this wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
In other words, God hasn't appointed us to experience this coming wrath (the Day of the Lord), but to obtain salvation through Christ Jesus and therefore also be spared from this period.
It is also well worth remembering this fact, and I'll let Mr Showers give us the exact quote:
"Because Christ's death for church saints caused their salvation from the future wrath of God, and because Christ's death has already been accomplished once for all (Rom. 6:9-10), the salvation of church saints from the future wrath of God has already been obtained. Their future experience of this already obtained deliverance is certain."
For the well-meaning folks who believe we will suffer through the Tribulation - one must ask - did Jesus not already suffer God's wrath on our behalf?
We know that answer. Of course He did. The apostle Paul makes that case above in a clear, concise way.
The bottom line? Once again, we see a stark division in all people in these last days:
One group who is destined for darkness and another group, who, through their salvation, based on Christ Jesus are living in light and destined for the light.
Those who are in the light are not "appointed" to suffer the coming Tribulation (aka the "wrath" or "the Day of the Lord") because we have received the gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Its that simple. We see a world divided into two groups and this contrast couldn't be more stark.
Its worth adding a couple of additional scriptures which further confirm this point:
In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Paul again gives us instructions for these last days:
"...and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."
"Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (Revelation 3:10)
How many times do we have to be told?
As a follower of Christ Jesus - we are afforded the incredible grace that Christ Jesus gave us on the cross. We won't experience God's coming wrath to an unrepentant world - Christ already did that for us. Additionally, we've just seen three specific scriptures which confirm that important point.
How will the church saints be delivered from this coming wrath?
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
And the beauty of this study is this: Jesus described the exact same scenario in John 14:1-3
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me.
In my Father's house there are many rooms;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am."
God's wrath is most definitely coming to this earth and this entire process is described in Revelation 6-18. Fortunately, God's wrath was already taken on the cross, by Jesus, for all who believe.
The scriptures above describe the plain fact that Jesus will come and gather up His bride prior to this wrath that is coming upon an unrepentant world - a world of darkness - a world that we will be "rescued" from according to the scriptures.
We can only thank God for His incredible grace and mercy.
Maranatha! He is coming soon!
(ref. "Maranatha Our Lord, Come! A definitive Study of the Rapture of the Church" Renald Showers. 1995 by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Fifth Edition 2002.)
COUNTDOWN TO 666 - TvFoutreach
Wow Scott! An excellent summation and explanation. Really, this pulls all the important points together and "proofs" with scripture as to why/when/how.
May I copy this and use it? I would love to send this to a few "fence sitters" and "newbies"? I will give credit.
Two thumbs and both big toes UP!
Please do Caver - but keep in mind, this is in no way a comprehensive argument of a pre-trib rapture - there is so much more that could have been added to that exercise. This was just a look at how "divided" the world is becoming. But by all means, copy and distribute and lets get the TRUTH out!
In reference to Mr. Showers proposal that the tribulation is a time of darkness...there can not be darkness unless light is removed, and Jesus told us, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16
Being so aware of our own failings, I think it's difficult for us to comprehend what a difference it will make in this world when we are no longer here as earthen vessels of God's glorious Holy Spirit.
Scott, thank you for this bible study lesson. Your study is very clear and concise and should lay to rest questions about the coming wrath that will soon be poured out upon an unsuspecting world.
As anonymous points out, light will be removed from the world before God pours out the cup of wrath. Some believers argue that "light" pertains to believers who are watchmen on the wall, who are astute prophecy students, vs believers who are clueless about the signs of the end times.
Another argument that presents in many circles of both believers and unbelievers is that of the apostasy, or "apostasia", which means the falling away as found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Some contend that it refers to the falling away of the Church, as in the fall of the church through the corrupt teachings of men who are essentially wolves in sheep's clothing. It clearly refers to the physical removal of the Church, the Bride of Christ, which will occur in the rapture. Paul comforted his bretheren with these words,".. for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first,...".
May your ministry continue to bring us closer to the Lord through His Word.
Well, that was very encouraging teaching. Thanks Scott.
I love this scripture for everything it says and for everything it informs us of. There is so much information packed into this particular passage.
In more ways than one, it really does seem that the division between good and evil (not to mention "truth" vs "lies", "light" vs "Darkness" etc. ) is growing more and more separate as we approach the last days. Everything seems more sharply divided, and these scriptures seem to be pointing in that direction as well.
Scott said “Lets see this stark contrast in two types of people: Those who belong to the "light" as contrasted with those who belong to the "darkness". This could also be stated as a contrast between church saints and the unsaved”.
This fact is what puzzles me; why church saints CHOOSE to walk in the darkness rather than the light when it comes to the ‘deep gloom’ of the 70th Week. It’s as if the fantastic GRACE of God is too much for them to handle; they HAVE to keep a modicum of control to DO instead of accepting DONE!
Some feel the need for extra suffering to ‘purge’ themselves of a sin Jesus has already atoned for. There are those who see themselves as virtuous and courageous first class Christians ready to take on the judgments, persecution and the antichrist. They deride the Pretrib despising our blessed hope in His Word as a cowardly and inferior desire to escape. Others want to help God to evangelize the lost ignoring His insistence that He has that job covered by Elijah; the 144,000; 2 Witnesses and the Gospel Angel.
I show them the Scriptures – they look at them, shake their heads and say they don’t believe it; and yet offer NO Scriptural alternative except to parrot undying loyalty to verses they persist in misapplying. I have turned somersaults (not a pretty site) urging them to recognise and accept the blessed hope that Jesus is coming for us BEFORE the 7 yrs start. They are going to miss out on the reward promised to us and deny Jesus the Glory of that hope. All the time and energy spent on pushing Mid, ¾ and Posttrib will be worthless ‘hay, wood and stubble’ that will be consumed in the fire for dead works at the Bema.
Not just that, it is so exciting how The Holy Spirit continues to shine His light on aspects of imminency I hadn’t previously noticed. I thought I was aware of everything; but He still surprises me, and that is such a glorious blessing when I would otherwise be bogged down by the hurts of life. Literally, I have been breaking my heart, then this ‘dawning’ comes of new inspiration – not new revelation; I don’t mean that – things that have always been in The Word – but I am suddenly quickened to see verses as if for the first time. Instantly my tears are changed into tears of joy as I praise and worship my Lord; the hurt is still there, nothing has changed, but the joy swallows it all up. I so want others to ‘get it’, to know the extra blessings that Jesus gives just because of our hope in His imminent return.
God bless you Scott for encouraging us in the blessed hope of His imminent return.
Sue, beautifully stated. You are a dear sister in Christ and I think of how He must be moved by your compassion for fellow brothers and sisters who stumble on the path of misinformation.
The fullness of God's Grace is so hard to accept... even for many, many Saints! Fear was a big block for me... now I know that type of fear was opposite of where one needs to stand. -jw
Bless you too for your own encouraging comments.
Your name always makes me smile - I imagine one of the old saints in their long 'frock' hearing of some action The Lord wants them to do; and them saying 'Right oh, come on then, let's get on with it' as they roll up their sleeves, then hoik up their garment, tucking it into their belt as they 'gird up their loins' for action.
That's a great position for us all to be in as we wait for the Jesus to call us up. :)
Big hug :D
Beginning to grasp the huge capacity of God's Grace is the best antidote for fear. The enemy knows how powerful, knowing of God's Grace, is to us for combating his lies. No wonder he likes to panic us into activities to 'help God out' (just in case God can't manage it without us).
Praise The Lord! HIS GRACE is sufficient.
God bless you.
Scott, thanks for filtering through lots of information to bring us the most important events of today. Evil is preparing to sweep over Israel like a tsunami. Soros is preparing to crash the world's economic system.
So, brothers and sisters can we move beyond self-imposed time limits we have adopted wherein we say this or that period will last 3 1/2 years or that sequence of events will last 7 years? Fact is, we are IN the TRIBULATION period. Do a Goggle search to see just how many brothers and sisters, at this very moment, are in TRIBULATION. Some are even being slaughtered for their faith.
Only the apostle John wrote about antichrist. I John 2:18 "Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour."
Many antichrists have come and it has been many centuries since John wrote that letter to the Church. So, the Church is in the "LAST HOUR".
What did Paul say about 'the Day of the Lord'?
2 Thessalonians 2
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction."
What did Peter say about 'the Day of the Lord'?
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Christ taught us about the TRIBULATION, Matthew 24 "21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, 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. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
So, immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days...he will send out his angels, and they will gather his elect from the four winds.
Simply because America has not yet undergone great TRIBULATION does not mean the Church is not in TRIBULATION. Do a Google search my brothers and sisters and you will understand the Church is still in the LAST HOUR.
Expected Imminently wrote, "things that have always been in The Word – but I am suddenly quickened to see verses as if for the first time." Many brothers and sisters have been expressing the very same thought. This is evidence the Church is in a time of great revelation.
As this thread is closing, I have replied further forward on your second post.
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