Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Great Rescue Is Coming - Let Us Persevere to the End!

"Because you did obey my message about persevering, I will keep you from the time of trial coming upon the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test." - Revelation 3:10, Complete Jewish Bible

During a prayer time recently I asked the Lord what I should do. It was not about a particular situation, but a general prayer for guidance in life. I was expecting the answer might be an assignment or mission, but what He spoke I did not expect. He impressed on me that the most important thing I can do is lead my family out of here before the Great Tribulation.


This blog is all about the reality that we are nearing the end of this age and Jesus is coming soon. That's good news! The bad new is the Great Tribulation is coming too, when the Antichrist will rise to a position of global leadership and all hell will break out on earth.

The Great Tribulation - A Time of Unparalleled Distress

The Great Tribulation is the final three-and-a-half years of this age before Jesus Christ returns to lead the armies of heaven, take back the earth and establish his throne in Jerusalem for a 1,000-year reign. During the final years of this age we will see the culmination of everything Satan and his fallen angels have been working on and organizing since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden. It is Satan's final thrust to enslave and destroy humanity and rule the earth. It is also the agenda of the New World Order elite. Much of the book of Revelation describes this period.

"And they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?' There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him... It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him." - Revelation 13:4-5, NASB

"How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed." - Daniel 12:6-7, NASB

Forty-two months and "time, times, and half a time" are expressions for 3.5 years. The authority of the Antichrist and Satan's beast kingdom will extend over the whole world. It will be a time of unbelievable cataclysm and persecution. The Scriptures say believers in Christ will be "shattered" and "overcome." 

"If anyone is meant for captivity, into captivity he goes! If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he is to be killed!" - Revelation 13:10, Complete Jewish Bible

"And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." - Revelation 20:4, NASB

Furthermore, Jesus said the Great Tribulation would be like no other time in history:

"For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." - Matthew 24:21-22, NASB

I don't want my family to be here for the Great Tribulation. I don't think anyone who understood what will be would want to be here either. Thankfully, blessedly, there is a means of escape for those who attain it. I am aware this topic is controversial, but I believe the Scriptures tell us both when it will happen and how we can escape. Please consider and read on.

The Great Rescue

I used to call this event the rapture, as many do, but I avoid that term now because it is loaded with so many preconceived notions, strong feelings and disagreements. Some accurately point out that the word "rapture" does not appear in the Scriptures, which is another reason not to use it.

However, these phrases ARE in the Bible: "rescue," "escape" and "keep you from the time of trial coming upon the whole world." So now I call this event the Great Rescue, which Daniel referred to in his end-times prophecies:

"And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued." - Daniel 12:1

The reference to the "time of distress" is the same as the Great Tribulation. Then, AT THAT TIME, everyone who is found written in the book will be rescued.

Jesus' message to the church of Philadelphia in Revelation also mentions this rescue:

"Because you did obey my message about persevering, I will keep you from the time of trial coming upon the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test." - Revelation 3:10, Complete Jewish Bible

The "time of trial" coming on the whole world, at least for our generation, is the Great Tribulation. Jesus is offering to deliver from this trial anyone who obeys his message of perseverance. As He said in Matthew, this means a perseverance to the end:

"But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." - Matthew 24:23, Berean Study Bible

In Luke 21, after talking to his disciples about end-times events, Jesus added:

"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." - Luke 21:34-36, NKJV

Jesus warned about having hearts distracted by sin and worry and worldly pleasures, because this can cause us to fall into a trap - the trap, I believe, of missing the Great Rescue and being stuck on earth during the Great Tribulation. He is referring to the events that will play out on the whole earth, just like in Revelation 3. We must stay alert (spiritually awake and in communion with God) and pray we may be counted worthy to escape all these things - in other words, to persevere. More on what this means later.

Revelation 12 contains another reference to the Great Rescue. After Satan (the dragon) and his angels are thrown to earth in Revelation, they will persecute the saints (the woman)

"And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent." - Revelation 12:13-14

After a short while, the persecuted saints will be delivered from the presence of the serpent. Here again is the Great Rescue! Notice how long the saints will be hidden away - "time and times and half a time," or 3.5 years, the full length of the Great Tribulation. Since Satan will inhabit the earth at that time, the place of deliverance must be somewhere other than earth. Heaven?

By the way, the reference to wings of an eagle and the wilderness are an allusion to how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them to his presence on Mt. Sinai:

"Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, 'Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself."'" - Exodus 19:3-4

In fact, the Exodus from Egypt, moving through the wilderness and finally entering the Promise Land are an amazing prophetic parallel to end-times events. God works history in repeating patterns. The plagues on Egypt represent the coming judgments on the world. The miraculous rescue by parting the Red Sea represents the Great Rescue in the end times. For more details about this prophetic parallel, see What Comes Next for Us? The Exodus out of Egypt.

Isaiah 26 also has a reference to the Great Rescue. See Isaiah 26 - The Rapture and the Day of the Lord

Expect Tribulation and Persecution

Though I believe the Great Rescue is biblically sound, the doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture is not. We should all expect persecution and tribulation. Not only as a constant in history, but especially during the run-up to the Great Tribulation, also known as the birth pangs. I believe we are in the birth pangs right now and serious persecution has already begun. Look at what is happening to Christians in the Middle East and North Africa and China. These things are coming to the Western world too.

Please don’t let your guard down and think you won’t have to face tribulations and persecution. Pre-tribulation rapture is a siren song that lulls Christians to sleep and makes them unprepared for the coming trials. Those who embrace it are apt to lose their hope and faith when things aren’t as easy and pain-free as they were told. For more on this, see Living in the Time of the Antichrist - The Message of Daniel 11:32-35

If the Great Rescue is not a pre-trib view, then what is it? I would call it pre-wrath, because the wrath of God is poured out on earth during the Great Tribulation:

"Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God." - Revelation 14:18-19

The Great Rescue Timing

Next I'll make the case that the Scriptures place the Great Rescue at the midpoint of the final seven-year period of this age and at the start of the Great Tribulation. But I have to tell you, these things are not obvious to see. They are in fact concealed by design:

"But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." - Daniel 12:5

"Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time." - Daniel 12:9

Daniel 9:27 is a key verse that places the Great Rescue at the start of the Great Tribulation. This verse is analyzed in depth
in the post Revival, Rapture, Zombie Apocalypse and Return of the King - The Message of Daniel 9:27. There I also explain why I believe the best translation to use for this verse is the Septuagint:

"And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of time an end shall be put to the desolation." - Daniel 9:27, Brenton Septuagint Translation

In the age before the coming of the Messiah, the regular sacrifice was a twice-daily offering presented to the Lord in the temple. It honored and symbolized God's continual presence, communion and blessing among the people of Israel. 

In 169 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes conquered Jerusalem, massacred many Jews and plundered the temple. The following year he set up an altar to the pagan god Zeus in the temple. Zeus represented the chief god of the pagan pantheon, the sun-god. From a Hebrew perspective, Zeus represented the head fallen angel leading mankind astray, known as Lucifer or Satan. In other words, this was an altar to Satan in the temple of the Lord, fulfilling the prophecy in Daniel chapter 11:

"Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation." - Daniel 11:31, NASB

Plundering the temple did away with the regular sacrifice and setting up the altar to Zeus was the abomination of desolation.

NOTE: Prophecies in the Bible often have multiple fulfillments, and biblical events often prefigure events that will occur in the future. As Mark Twain said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." For example, Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac prefigured God's sacrifice of his Son Jesus. Abraham bound Isaac on Mount Moriah, the place where Solomon's temple eventually was built, and in the city of Jerusalem where Jesus would ultimately be sacrificed. It doesn't repeat precisely, but it rhymes. Another example is the Passover lamb that the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice and apply its blood to their door lintels to ward away the angel of death during the plagues of Egypt. The ultimate Lamb of God whose blood overcomes death is Jesus.

Antiochus Epiphanes prefigures the man of lawlessness or Antichrist that will appear in the end times according the books of Daniel, Revelation and II Thessalonians.

What does the temple of the Lord prefigure? In the age before the coming of the Messiah, the temple was a building in Jerusalem dedicated to the worship of God and holding his Presence. The moment Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth shook. This event signified God's Presence and power would no longer dwell in a temple in Jerusalem. Instead, God's Spirit and Presence would dwell in our bodies - leading, empowering and teaching us.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" - 1 Corinthians 6:19

At Pentecost this was fulfilled dramatically and continues to present. In the end times, the era between the first and second comings of Christ, the temple is the human body. 

So, what does the regular sacrifice prefigure? The New Testament gives us clues:

"You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 2:5, NASB

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." - Romans 12:1, NASB

Do you see it? WE ARE THE REGULAR SACRIFICE! We who believe in Christ and are born of the Spirit are the daily sacrifice in the temple of our bodies, as we act on obedience to the Lord.

Therefore, what is the removal or taking away of the regular sacrifice? This is the Great Rescue, as foretold by Daniel :

"Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, WILL BE RESCUED." - Daniel 12:1, NASB

Back to Daniel 9:27: "And in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering shall be taken away." The middle of the week (a 7-year period) places the Great Rescue  halfway through the 7 years, or at the start of the final 3.5-year Great Tribulation.

Isaiah 26 also places the Great Rescue before the Great Tribulation.

Furthermore, Revelation 18-19 suggest that the Great Rescue will happen sometime during the period of judgment on Mystery Babylon (America), and probably just before its final destruction by fire. For an explanation, see The Rapture Will Happen During the Period of Judgment on America.

Be a Wise Virgin

Back to the question of who is rescued. Jesus' parable of the ten virgins addresses this directly:

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour." - Matthew 25:1-13

Please note that all ten are virgins. Could we imply all ten have been made clean? All had lamps and oil. All wanted to meet the bridegroom. I think we are looking at a group of ten Christians, not unbelievers. Jesus is the Bridegroom, as implied in Revelation 19 and the Song of Solomon.

The only difference between the wise and the foolish virgins was that the wise ones brought extra oil. The lamps of the foolish went out before the bridegroom arrived, since he arrived later than anticipated.

The wise were welcomed to the wedding feast - a wonderful and joyful celebration! But the foolish were shut out. In the end, the bridegroom said to the foolish, "I do not know you."

What can we say about this? It appears the foolish virgins did not persevere to the end. They let worldly pleasures, worries (fears), sins and deceptions crowd out their relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were not received.

What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Jesus puts it simply here: 

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." - John 10:27, NASB

A relationship means we hear his voice and do what He says. Therefore Jesus says, "I know them." In other words, we spend time reading and taking in the word of God and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts. Then we walk it out in our lives. The Apostle Paul stated it this way:

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." - Philippians 2:12-13

This does not mean we are saved by works, for we are saved by God's grace through faith. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that covers our sins and makes is right with God. However, churches and ministries do a disservice when they portray salvation as a one-time event: Just pray this prayer! Salvation begins when we believe in Jesus Christ and are born again, but it does not stop there. Salvation is the whole process of being sanctified, walking with God, REPENTING, learning to do right and not wrong, cleaning up the bride and making her ready for the Bridegroom. Someday we will even be perfected in Christ!

By the way, attending church, participating in religious activities, reading Christian books, etc. is not the same as having a relationship with Jesus Christ. With the state of the American church as lukewarm and deluded as it is, doing those things can even be a hindrance. Many people are deceived into thinking they are walking with God when they are not, simply because they perform religious activities. You can't go wrong if you stick to the basics: Faith, Bible, Holy Spirit, obedience. 

The Great Rescue is a reward for faithful Christians who persevere to the end. God is a jealous God, and Jesus Christ wants to be first in our lives. He rewards faithfulness in a BIG WAY.


Praise God He has given us a way out! Not a complete pass from tribulation and persecution, but a Great Rescue from the worst of it.

By God's grace, I intend to lead my family out of here. I want to carry out the work God has for me to do, and then I'm outta here! 

To everyone reading this message, I hope you will resolve in your heart to do the same.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6


Stig-Ove said...

This one was a fresh look at whats coming. Id say really a gust of Holy Spirit breathed inspiration Mike. Thx for taking time to write it!

Vicki said...

Well written and explained. Thank you.

Mike Fisch said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments, Vicki and Stig-Ove!