The Future…

(Formerly After the Rapture)

“Well,” I said Monday morning as we finished breakfast, “is any one ready for Natchez today?”

                “Natchez?” Susie asked.

                “It’s about two and a half hours from here,” I replied. “But I thought we could try it.”

*                                             *                                           *                                            

                “Well, look at that,” I said as we arrived at the church that evening. “We’re here at 6:20.”

                We climbed out of the car and quickly walked to the church. We found our seats as soon as the pianist began the prelude. After the opening, Pastor Mast handed things over to Brother Daniel Shelley.

                “Good evening,” Daniel began. “It’s good to see you all tonight. Please take your Bibles and turn to Revelation, chapter 4, verse one:

                “‘After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

                “We’ve been looking at various views of eschatology, and now I want to look at ‘After the Rapture’, which is my topic this evening.

                “Here in Revelation chapter 4,” Daniel continued, “God tells John He will show him things ‘which must be hereafter’.   By the way, Brother David mentioned ‘That Blessed Hope’ yesterday morning. Here’s something else to think about: John goes up to Heaven, symbolizing the Rapture. Notice God tells him, ‘Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.’ More proof for a Pre-Tribulational Rapture; just a thought.”

                Several chuckled.

                “So to continue,” Brother Shelley stated, “after John enters Heaven, he sees this thing about the scroll that Antoine mentioned a couple of days ago, and only Jesus can open these seals, as Brother Miller stated.

                “So if we take a look at this chapter,” Daniel continued, “well, starting in chapter six, technically, we read of the events as Jesus opens the seals.

                “Revelation 6,” Daniel stated. “Starting in verse one: ‘And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.’ Here we see the Antichrist is released upon the world. 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 says, ‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.’ This would be when the Antichrist is revealed, which would occur after the Rapture.

                “The second seal is in Revelation 6:3-4. This is interpreted as war. While the Antichrist is setting up this one-world government and economic system, Daniel tells us, in Daniel 7:8, that the little horn (the Antichrist) plucks up three of the ten kings. ‘I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.’ I personally believe that here in Revelation six, this war would have something to do with the Daniel passage.

                “The next seal is famine. Famine often follows war, as anyone who has studied history can tell you. The fourth seal is Death; Death roams the earth killing one out of every four persons on planet earth, and instantly sending them to Hell. Talk about Grim Reaper!”

                Several laughed.

                “Now let’s think for a minute here before we carry on,” Brother Shelley continued. “You know, probably some of you have heard, ‘Oh, there’s about two billion Christians in this world!’ Or, ‘Christendumb’—and yes, I spell that d-u-m-b like some others—‘is the largest religion on earth!’ Well I’m sorry, but Morons—I mean, uh, Mormons—Jehovah’s False Witnesses, Catholics, etc. are not on their way to Heaven. If you believe you can eventually become a god, or if you don’t believe Jesus Christ is God the Son, or if you believe that a little piece of Styrofoam-tasting bread is Jesus, then you are not on your way to Heaven.

                “I think a more accurate count is 200 million,” Dan went on. “So imagine if 200 million people disappeared. This world, especially the Orient and the Western world, panics. Now, why do I say that? All of a sudden, all these people disappear. The Orientals, like China, though they don’t particularly care for Christians, are extremely concerned about missing people. And if all of a sudden, fifty to one hundred million people disappear, they would really panic. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I think there’s probably Christians in Africa and the Middle East, but less people means more food, more jobs, and less “infidels” to worry about.

                “Now, here in this Western world,” Daniel continued, “and by Western I mean most of Europe, Israel, Canada, and other US allies; while most people who profess to be Christian are so shallow they ain’t, there is a good number of real Christians who are in prominent positions.

                “So imagine,” Daniel resumed, “if suddenly 200 million people disappear from off this planet. Car wrecks by the thousands, missing person reports in the millions, probably airliner crashes, bridges collapse, etc. Everyone is crying and panicking—and suddenly, one man enters the scene, and declares his ability to solve everything. This is the Antichrist, though he won’t be recognized for now. He comes along and settles everything. He’ll probably have some explanation for all of these problems, including the missing persons.

                “So everything is set up,” Brother Shelley continued, “and everything seems to be fine, except for all of these ‘natural disasters’, caused by God’s judgment.

                “So now, if we turn back to these seals,” Daniel continued, “we see here in Revelation chapter 6, verses 12-17, Jesus opens the sixth seal. There’s earthquakes, and all kinds of strange things in the sky, and everyone, man, woman, and child, is scared.

                “Now let’s turn to Revelation chapter 8,” Daniel went on, “we find the Trumpet judgments. The first one sounds, and blood, fire, and hail fall to the earth. The second one sounds and a burning mountain is cast into the sea, and a third part of the ocean becomes blood; one out of every three fish dies; and thirty-three percent of the ships are destroyed. The third one sound, and a third of all the fresh water becomes bitter. The fourth one sounds and the third part of the day becomes dark and a third part of the night becomes darker.”

                David paused for a drink. “I think this is near the half-way point; probably into the last half of the Great Tribulation by this time.

                “Now, some have interpreted Revelation 9:1-11 as helicopters; wouldn’t it wreck a helicopter if it was to whack someone with the tail?”   

                Several laughed.

                “The sixth trumpet involves a large army, which kills the third part of men,” Daniel resumed. “Each judgment gets worse as time goes on, in case you haven’t noticed.       

                “Now, here in Revelation 11, we find the Two Witnesses. It appears that these two will be preaching for the first three and one-half years. And, while we’re on the subject, I want to mention the 144,000 Jews. Some people have wondered as to whether or not these 144,000 will be preaching. I would say it certainly seems possible; they are mentioned in Revelation chapter seven and right after them is mentioned the Tribulation saints. Also, Jesus said, ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come’ (Matthew 24:14). Whether He is referring to the Rapture or His Second Coming, I don’t know, but I’ll at least throw this in. 

                “Now I’d better be moving, or Amos is going to run out of paper,” David remarked.

                Several chuckled.

                “Half-way through the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist enters the temple that he managed to get built forty-two months earlier, declares he’s God, and demands worship. The mark appears and is the only way to buy or sell. I would also suggest that this is when Zechariah 13:8 is fulfilled, when 2 out of every 3 Jews are killed, and the rest flee to the wilderness as described in Revelation 12. From that point on for the next three and one-half years, the Antichrist will rule the world with an iron fist.

                “Let’s turn to Revelation 16,” Daniel stated. “Here we see the Vial judgments. The first one is a horrible disease; the second causes all the oceans to turn to blood and kills everything in them. The third causes all of the fresh water to become blood; the sun becomes extremely hot with the forth vial; worse than anything we’ve seen here on this earth so far. The fifth vial causes darkness so strong it can be felt. The sixth vial dries up the Euphrates; and the seventh causes fierce storms, a great earthquake, and extremely large hail stones, around seventy-five to one hundred pounds each.

                “At the end of these horrible judgments, the armies of the world, including America, are gathered against Jerusalem to battle, and the worst war up to this point begins. Jesus said that ‘Except those days should be shortened, no flesh should be saved’ (Mark 13:20).

                “Now, what happens?” Daniel asked. “According to the Bible, Zechariah 14:1-3, God will gather all nations to Jerusalem to battle. The city is taken, and the mop-up begins. Then, suddenly, Mark 13:24, ‘But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.’ Zechariah says, in chapter 14:3, ‘Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.’ Behind Jesus on His white horse, Revelation 19:11 and following, are the armies of Heaven, which are described in Joel 2. We arrive on the earth, clear out the armies of earth, and rescue the remaining Jews.

                “Once this battle is done,” Daniel went on, “the 1,000-year reign of Christ, where the lion shall lay down with the lamb, will begin.

                “At the end of this period,” Daniel continued, “Satan is loosed for a little season, and gathers Gog and Magog and makes his final attempt to fight God. Fire comes down out of Heaven, destroys the army, and the Devil will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Then, 2nd Peter 3:10, ‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.’ Revelation 20:11-15 describes the Great White Throne Judgment, where all those who did not receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, those who do not have their names in the Book of Life, will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire, to be tormented day and night forever.

                “Final thought,” Daniel stated. “After the judgment, John says, ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Once the Great White Throne Judgment has occurred, a new Heaven and a new Earth will be created, and we will be with God forever and forever.

                “Revelation 22:1-5,” Daniel announced:

                “‘And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.’”

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