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A STUDY OF THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IN REVELATION

A STUDY OF THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IN REVELATION

INTRODUCTION  

As is true of many things, a correct understanding of the terms used in the book of Revelation is of paramount importance if we are to understand that difficult book. For example, there is much confusion in regard to the day of the Lord and the Lord’s day. Many believe that they are the same. I believe that the Greek phrase in Rev. 1:10 translated “Lord’s Day” includes the day of the Lord as well as the tribulation and the second coming of Christ and the new heavens and new earth. In other words, the day of the Lord is a separate event from the tribulation, and the Lord’s day includes both.

I must admit that a large part of the confusion is due to a misunderstanding of a cross-reference in the Companion Bible on Revelation 1:10. That cross-reference  is on the phrase “Lord’s Day”. Many interpret the comment on this phrase to mean that the Greek phrase translated “Lord’s Day” in Rev. 1:10 was the same as the Greek in other verses of the New Testament that are translated “day of the Lord”. In actuality the Greek is not exactly the same. The Greek phrase in Revelation 1:10 is slightly different and is correctly translated “the Lord’s day”. Let us search for the Scriptural definition of the phrase, “Lord’s day”.

There are those who believe that the phrase “Lord’s day” means Sunday. In fact, I believe that most Christians hold to that view. Does it refer to Sunday or for that matter does it refer to any day of the week?  Let us search the Scriptures.

1) Sunday is always referred to in the New Testament as “the first day of the week”.  Saturday is always referred to in the New Testament as “the Sabbath”.

2) We read in Rev. 1:10 that “John was in the Spirit“.  What does that mean?  The same phrase is also found in Rev. 4:2, 17:3 and 21:10.  These verses will help us to understand the phrase “in the Spirit“.  Rev. 4:2 reads, “At once I was in the Spirit and there before me I saw a throne in heaven”.  It is clear from this verse and the context (which explains the breaking of the seals) that when John was “in the Spirit” the result was that he saw a vision of a future event.  Rev. 17:3 reads, “Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert.  There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast….”.  It is clear also from this verse and its context that when John was “in the Spirit”, the result was that he saw a vision of a future event.  Rev. 21:10 reads, “And he carried me away in the Spirit and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”.  Again, it is clear that when John was “in the Spirit” the result was that he saw a vision of a future event.  Logic demands that the same phrase in Rev.1:10 also means that when John was “in the Spirit” the result was that he saw a vision of a future event.  In 1:10 the visions he saw were of future events that include the great tribulation, the second coming of Christ,  the day of the Lord, the millennium and the new earth and new heaven.

3) Given the monumental events recorded in Revelation, it makes so much better sense to accept the “Lord’s day” of 1:10 as referring to future events rather than to a day of the week.

I am suggesting that the phrase in Rev. 1:10 “Lord’s day” does not mean a day of the week, nor does it have the same narrow meaning as “the day of the Lord”.  And, since John also records visions of the millennium and the New Heaven and New Earth, we should include those visions as well in the phrase, “the Lord’s day”.

COSMIC DISTURBANCES

I believe that the tribulation and the day of the Lord are two separate events. A comparison of two passages will show that this is the case. These passages are Matt. 24:29-30 and Joel 2:30-31.

Matthew 24:21 reads, “For then there will be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again”. The “distress” mentioned in this verse, as the context will show, is the tribulation. Then our Lord goes on in verses 22 to 28 to tell His disciples what to do to escape the horrors of these times. Then in verses 29-30 we read, “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory”. The sequence of events in this passage is: the tribulation then the cosmic disturbances.

Let us compare Matthew 24:29-30 with Joel 2:30-31, “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”. The sequence of events in this passage is: the cosmic disturbances then the day of the Lord. So, in Matthew 24 the cosmic disturbances are after the tribulation and in Joel 2 the cosmic disturbances are before the day of the Lord. The cosmic disturbances mentioned in both these passages can not occur more than once. Therefore, the order of events must be: tribulation – cosmic disturbances – day of the Lord.

  THE TRIBULATION

Now that we have seen that the tribulation is not the same event as the day of the Lord we can, I believe, begin to have a better understanding of both the tribulation and the day of the Lord, and especially of the book of Revelation. I’m quite sure that most Bible believing Christians would agree that Revelation is one Book in the Bible that is not at all easy to understand. I am certainly not going to attempt to “explain” Revelation in this paper. However, I believe that there is a very important concept to keep in mind when we study this book that will help us to understand the sequence of events as described in Revelation. That concept involves the idea of finding phrases in other parts of the Bible that we know refer to a particular event and then looking for those same phrases in Revelation. This thought will become more clear as we study passages in the Old and New Testaments that relate to the events as recorded in Revelation.

Before we consider this concept let us first consider the problem. The problem, as I see it, is that Revelation, in large part, does not seem to be written in a sequence of events that makes sense. Let me site a few examples. In Rev. 6:12-13 we read, “…The sun turned black, ….the moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth”. But we read two chapters later in 8:12, “..a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark”. First the sun and moon are turned black and the stars fall from the sky then later a third of the sun and moon are turned dark. This defies logic. I suggest therefore, that we not expect the book of Revelation to be written  in chronological order. This suggestion clears up the problems mentioned above concerning the sun and moon and stars and sky.

As mentioned earlier, the best way of making sense of the sequence of events as they are recorded in Revelation is to find key phrases from other portions of the Word in which it is clear what particular event is being spoken of, and then match those phrases with where they occur in Revelation. We will do just that with key phrases that have to do with the tribulation and also with key phrases having to with the day of the Lord.

There are several key phrases that have to do with the tribulation and by finding them and, so to speak, connecting the dots of those phrases, we will have a clearer understanding of scriptures having to do with this topic.

We read in Daniel 9:27, “He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven, but in the middle of that seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the temple until the end that is decreed is poured out on him”. Most Bible believing Christians agree that the “seven” in this verse refers to a seven year period i.e. the 70th week of Daniel’s 70 weeks.  And that the “middle of that seven” is after 3 ½ years. We also know that this is the same 3 ½ years that our Lord was speaking of in Matthew 24 from the fact that both passages refer to the abomination of desolation“.

The phrase “abomination of desolation” also takes us to Daniel 11:31-32, “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him”. We read of this same person in verses 36-37 we are told that, “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard of things against the God of gods”.

Let us also consider Dan. 11:30, “…….he (i.e. the “contemptible person” of verse 21, and the one who will “abolish the daily sacrifice“, verse 31 [the antichrist]) will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant”.

By connecting these key phrases with similar key phrases in Rev. 13:11-17 we find more information and still other key phrases about our topic. Note, for example, verse 14, “……He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded…”. We learn a bit more from these verses, note verse 15,”…..it (i.e. the image of the beast) could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed”. We learn also that everyone was ordered to receive a mark “on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark….”. In this same context we read in Rev. 14:1, “Then I looked and there before me was the Lamb, standing on the Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written of on his forehead”. This takes us back to Rev. 7:4, “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel”.

There is another phrase that occurs several times in the context of the tribulation and it is found first in Rev. 6:9-11. Verse 9 tells us John saw, “the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had…”. And in verse 11 we read that “each of them were given a white robe“. These are the martyrs that came out of the tribulation. How do we know that? We are told in Rev. 7 13-14, where John is asked, “These in white robes – Who are they, and where did they come from? I answered, Sir, you know. And he said ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation;…..”.

That the tribulation is the main topic of what John saw in the spirit is clear when we consider a phrase that is repeated in each of the letters of chapters two and three. That phrase is, “To him who overcomes….”. Let us study this phrase to discover who these “overcomers” are.

In the letter to Ephesus the reward to the overcomers was, “I will give thee right to eat from the tree of life”. The tree of life is found in the New Earth (Rev. 22:2). We read in Rev. 21:7 that “He who overcomes will inherit all this…” i.e. the new Jerusalem. Verse 8 however, contrasts those who do not inherit “all this”, “….-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulpher. This is the second death“. We read in Rev. 20:14 that the lake of fire is the second death. And in 20:4-6 we learn that the second death would have no power over those who did not worship the beast but that the rest (i.e. those who did worship the beast) would be cast into the lake of fire. The fact that the second death is not something to be feared by those who did not worship the beast and that the beast is clearly the beast of the tribulation, shows that the overcomers are those who remained true to the One true God during the tribulation. The tree of life then, is rewarded to those who came out of the tribulation without worshipping the beast.

The letter to Smyrna promises, “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death”. (See note above on the letter to Ephesus).

The letter to Pergamum promises, hidden manna, a white stone and new name to the overcomers of the tribulation.

In the letter to Thyatira the overcomers are promised “I will give authority over the nations”

In the letter to Sardis we read, “He who overcomes will, like them be dressed in white…”. We know that those dressed in white are those “who have come out of the great tribulation, see Rev. 7:13-14.

In the letter to Philadelphia we read that the overcomers will have written on them “the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem”. He will also have a new name.

In the letter to Laodicea the overcomers are once again promised to rule with Christ. “I will give thee right to sit with Me on My throne”.

I believe that since all seven letters concern the overcomers of the tribulation, we can expect that a good portion of Revelation will be about the tribulation.

It would be helpful to list a few of the key phrases that will help us to determine what passages speak of the tribulation. They are: 1) 3 ½ years, 2) abomination of desolation, 3) say unheard of things against the God of gods, 4) 144,000, 5) white robes, 6) great tribulation and 7) overcomers. Now we are ready to study Revelation and see what we can learn about the great tribulation.

We have seen in the section above on the cosmic disturbances that the tribulation comes before the second coming, and the second coming includes the rapture. I Thess. 4:15-17 tells us that “the dead in Christ will rise first. After that , we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” We are told when these events will take place in verse 16, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command…”. So, the rapture occurs at the coming of Christ in the clouds which happens after the tribulation. The obvious conclusion is that believers will be left on earth during the tribulation.  That is to say, believers will once again be Jews and Gentiles grafted into the Jewish nation as was the case in the Acts period. (Please see the paper on this web-site The End Of The Church for the Scriptural evidence for the fact that the church cannot exist during the tribulation.)

Let us examine the concept of believers having to go through the tribulation. To begin, let us look again at Matt. 24. Our Lord warns His disciples that when they see the abomination of desolation, which which will be set up the second half of the 70th seven that they should flee. If the rapture were to take place before the tribulation, there would have been no need to “flee”, and no need, therefore, for our Lord to tell them when to flee.

Another passage that impacts on the concept of believers being on earth during the tribulation is found in Rev. 12:4-6 where we read of the woman who gave birth to the male child who will rule the nations with an iron scepter. We read in verse 6, “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days” (3 ½ years). Again in verse 12 of the same chapter we read that the dragon pursued the woman, “The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time (3 ½ yearsout of the serpents reach.” John does not say where this place prepared by God is, but I firmly believe that believers who are alive during the tribulation period will know where to go. If the rapture were to take place before the tribulation there would have been no need for a place of safety and no need therefore, for God to have prepared a place of safety.

I believe that the reason so many believe that the rapture will occur before the tribulation is that they confuse the tribulation with the day of wrath. That is to say, Scripture is clear that believers will not be subject to God’s wrath on the day of wrath. The paper on that subject proves that the tribulation is not the same as the day of wrath.

We will continue our study of the tribulation as described by John in Revelation by looking at each chapter, looking for key words to help us to determine which chapters are about the tribulation.

A comparison of Rev. 6:1-12 with Matt. 24 will show that verses 1-12 of Revelation 6 describe the tribulation.

In verse 12b of Rev. 6 we read of the cosmic disturbances of Matt. 24:29 and Acts 2: 19-20, which issue in the day of the Lord. “The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red and the stars fell to the earth…”.

In Rev. 6:17 we read, “For the great day of wrath has come, and who can stand?” The “great day of wrath” is the day of the Lord, which is proved by the fact that both phrases are used of that time immediately following the cosmic signs.

As much as one might expect chapter 7 to continue describing the great day of wrath, i.e. the day of the Lord, it does not. How do we know that? From our key words! Chapter 7 tells about the 144,000 (verse 4). It tells of those who are in the white robes (verse 13) who had come out of the great tribulation (verse14). Also, the key words of chapter seven are those we know to be key words describing the tribulation, not the day of the Lord.

Does chapter 8 continue with a description of the tribulation or does it describe the day of wrath? The cosmic disturbances mentioned in 8:6-12 tell us of a third of the sun etc. . As mentioned above however, at the opening of the sixth seal, the sun turned black and the moon turned to blood. Therefore we must conclude that when a third of the sun and a third of the moon was struck (8:12) it happened before the “sun turned black and the moon turned to blood” i.e. before the sixth seal, and before the day of God’s wrath, it happened during the tribulation.

Chapter 9:4 tells us that the great army of locusts were told “not to harm the grass of the earth etc., but only those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads”. Those who are God’s people, i.e. who had the seal of God on their foreheads, were raptured at His coming which is before the day of the Lord. If this army of locusts were active during the day of the Lord, the protective command not to harm God’s people would have been totally unnecessary, as they would have already been raptured. Therefore chapter 9 explains the events of the tribulation, not of the day of the Lord.

We need to be careful not to confuse the army of locusts in Joel 2 with the army of locusts in Rev. 9. A comparison of the “locusts” of chapter 9 with the “locusts of Joel 2 will show these armies to be two different armies. Note in Joel 2:11 “The Lord thunders at the head of His army” Note also Joel 2:25 the Lord speaks of the locusts as “My great army”. In Rev. 9:11 however we read of these locusts that “They had a king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon (ie. Destroyer). The locusts of Revelation 9 seem to be a copy (one of Satan’s tribulation counterfeits) of the locusts of Joel 2.

The context of Joel 2:3-11 will show that this army of Locusts is connected to the day of the Lord. Note for example verse 1, “Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming”. Note also verses 10 and 11, “Before them (i.e. the Lord’s army of locusts) the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine…..The day of the lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?”, We must conclude therefore, that the army of locusts described Rev, chapter 9 is the army of Satan which will march in the tribulation. The army of locusts in Joel chapter two is God’s army which will march in the day of the Lord. So the army in Revelation appears during the time of the tribulation, while the army in Joel 2 appears in the day of the Lord.

Rev. chapter 11:1-14 concerns the tribulation, note verse 2, “But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample the holy city for 42 months”. Note the comparison to Daniel 9:26, “The people of a ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

Rev. 11:15-18 records a scene in heaven in which the 7th trumpet is sounded which heralds in the coming of God’s kingdom. But we see that in chapter 12 there are several key words which point us to the tribulation. Note verse 6, where God promises to take care of the woman (Israel) for 1,260 days, i.e. 3 ½ years. So again, we do not have the chronological sequence that we might expect. That is to say, after the scene in heaven of the 24 elders praising Christ for His upcoming rule on earth, chapter 12 describes a vision of John’s that takes place on earth during the tribulation.

Chapter 13 describes the beast i.e. the antichrist and the false prophet (see 19:20) who were, of course active during the tribulation.

Chapter 14 mentions the 144,000 which, again is one of our key words of the tribulation.

In 15:7 we see the wrath of God being prepared. Chapters 16 through 18 is a description of the day of wrath. Note for example 16:15, “Behold, I come like a thief!” The tribulation is never spoken of in terms of coming like a thief.

Chapter 19 concerns the second coming of Christ. We know from Acts 2 that the cosmic disturbances to appear in the day of the Lord are “before” the day of the Lord. In summary then, first the tribulation, then the cosmic disturbances then the day of the Lord begins. Revelation 19 tells us of the coming of Christ with the “armies of heaven” (Rev. 19:14) after the 7 last plagues which complete God’s wrath i.e. the day of the Lord..

Chapter 20 tells of the millennial rule and the judgment of those who went through the tribulation and failed to remain faithful to God.

Chapters 21 and 22 describe the New Heaven and the New Earth.

THE DAY OF THE LORD 

Just as there were key words pertaining to the tribulation which helped us to determine which passages referred to that event, so too  there are key words that pertain to the day of the Lord that will help us to determine which verses, especially in Revelation, refer to that event.

The first passage in the Old Testament that speaks of the day of the Lord is found in Isaiah 2. Verse 12 reads, “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon everyone that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low“. We read of the “proud and lofty” and those who will be humbled in that day several times in this passage, note verses 9,11,12 and 17.

Another key phrase in this passage that is repeated several times has to do with hiding in the rocks. Note verses, 10, “Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from the dread of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty”. See also verses 19 and 21.

When He rises to shake the earth” is another key phrase used of the day of the Lord in this passage in Isaiah. See verses 19 and 21.

Another important passage that speaks of the day of the Lord is found in Joel 2. We find a few key phrases in Joel 2 that will help us to determine which passages in Revelation refer to the day of the Lord. One is found in verse 1, “Blow the trumpet in Zion”.  The second is found in verse 10 where we read that “Before them (i.e. the army of locusts) the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine”. The reader will recall that we read of the same cosmic disturbances in Matt. 24, which tells us that these cosmic disturbances occur after the tribulation and therefore just before the day of the Lord.

Verses 2-9 go on to tell of an army (described in verse 25 as an army of locusts) that will be “large and mighty” “such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come”. As noted above, this army must not be confused with the army of locusts in Rev. 9.

Amos 5:18-20 tells of the day of the Lord as a day of darkness, not light. This is also a key phrase in helping us to determine what passages refer to the day of the Lord

Zeph. 1:7-13 also speaks of the day of the Lord. “Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near” (verse 7). Note verse 11, “Wail, you who live in the market district; all your merchants will be wiped outall who trade with silver will be ruined”. Also verse 13, “Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished… .”.

Zeph. 1:14-18 is another important passage which helps us to understand the characteristics of the day of the Lord. “The great day of the Lord is near- …..the shouting of the warrior is there” (Verse 14). “That day will be a day of wrath, …..a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness” (verse 15). “A day of trumpet and battle cry” (verse 16). “…..In the fire of His jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth” .

Let us list the key phrases pertaining to the day of the Lord, so that when we come to Revelation we will be better able to understand which passages apply to the tribulation and which to the day of the Lord. For passages about the day of the Lord we should look for these key phrases:

1) the proud and lofty will be humbled,

2) men will flee to caverns and hide in the rocks,

3) when He rises to shake the earth,

4) sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will not give their light,

5) shout of the warrior,

6) a day of trumpet and battle cry,

7) a sudden end and merchants wiped out.

All of these phrases appear in passages in which the day of the Lord is mentioned specifically, so we know that these phrases have to do with the day of the Lord. When we come to the book of Revelation, it is not always clear which passages refer to the tribulation and which to the day of the Lord. But by looking for one or more of the key phrases pertaining to one or the other event we will be able to determine which passages apply to which event.

Let us now turn to Revelation and seek the phrases which apply to the day of the Lord.

We have already discussed chapters 2-3 above and have shown that they refer to the tribulation because of the key phrase in each letter of those chapters, “To those who overcome”

It is not until Chapter 6 verses 12-17 that we find any key words pertaining to the day of the Lord. Note verses 12-13, “…..The moon turned blood red and the stars fell from the skies”.

As mentioned above, chapters 7-14 describe events connected with the tribulation.

In chapter 15 we read of the day of the Lord, verse 1 reads, “…. Because with them (i.e. the seven last plagues) God’s wrath is complete“. Also verse 7, “…seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God”.

Chapter 16 also has a key phrase that pertains to the day of the Lord, verse 14, “they (i.e. spirits of demons) go out to the whole world to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty”.

Chapters 17-18 discuss the fall of Babylon and the victory over the beast, i.e. the antichrist. We find a few key phrases such as in 18: 15, “the merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand off, terrified at her torment: Another key passage is 18:17, “In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin”. 

THE SECOND COMING

One of the very few references to the actual event of the second coming in the Old Testament is found in Zechariah 14:4-5, “On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…. . Then the Lord my God will come and all the holy ones with him”. Also a comparison of Rev. 1:7 with Zech. 12:10 will show a veiled reference to His second coming in Zechariah and a more complete picture in Revelation. Zech. 12:10 reads, “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for a firstborn son”. Rev. 1:7 reads, “Look, He is coming with the clouds  and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.” These phrases take us to Matt. 24:30-31, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other”.

The verses quoted above take us to I Thess. 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the 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 with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”. We know that the Lord appears in the sky after the tribulation and before the day of the Lord, so we know from this passage in I Thess. 4:16-17 that the rapture and the resurrection of believers will occur after the tribulation and before the day of the Lord.

THE QUESTION

When I began to study this post tribulation – pre-wrath rapture view, the question that puzzled me the most was, if the rapture takes place with the coming of the Lord in the clouds (which it does) and then after that there is the day of the Lord, where are those who will be raptured during the day of the Lord and how long will they be there?

THE ANSWER

When we look at the chapters in Revelation that deal with the day of the Lord we will find one phrase which occurs several times that helps answer the question under consideration. We see it first in Rev. 18:10, “…. In one hour your doom has come!”. Note also verse 17, “In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!”. Also verse 19, “In one hour she has been brought to ruin”.

Comparing Rev. 18:21 with the verses quoted above, we see that it is not only possible, but stated that the fall of Babylon will take one hour. Verse 21 reads, “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea and said, ‘With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down” Zeph. 1:18 tells us also, “For He will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth”. It is true that God’s time is not necessarily our time, but I believe that “a sudden end” means just that, and can not, nor should not, be interpreted as anything but sudden.

But we must keep in mind that the day of the Lord is not only the destruction of Babylon, but also the day of wrath against unbelievers. Let us examine the “seven last plagues” which complete God’s wrath. (15:1). Chapter 16:2 tells of, “ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped the beast”. In 16:3 we read that the sea will turn to blood. In 16:4 the rivers and springs were turned to blood. In 18:8 the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. In verse 10 we read that the kingdom of the beast “was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony…”. In verse 12 we read that the river Euphrates was dried up. In verses 17-21 we read of the seventh angel and his bowl being poured out. We read of the worst earthquake the world had ever seen, the collapse of great cities and huge hail stones etc..

So then, what is the answer to the question of where will those raptured be during the day of the Lord and how long will they be there? I believe that they will be with the Lord in the clouds waiting for the day of His wrath to be completed, at which time they will return to earth with Him. How long will they remain until the day of wrath is complete? Babylon (the source of all evil and idol worship) will fall in one hour, the day of wrath will not be much longer than that.

If one considers the great war between God and Satan that has existed from the time of Satan’s fall through the tempting of Eve in the Garden of Eden, through the temporary defeat of God in the death of Christ on the cross (he will bruise his heel [Gen. 3:15]) and the whole tribulation period when Satan “pulls out all the stops”, so to speak, to get God’s people to worship him, then one gets a sense of what the whole Revelation is about. It is about Satan’s desire to be worshipped as God. The tribulation describes the steps he takes to accomplish that end. The day of the Lord describes God’s total destruction of that plan and all those who sided with that plan. Babylon represents the seat of Satan’s power and if the destruction of that city occurs in “one hour” then perhaps the seven last plagues will not take precedence over the main event, i.e. the destruction of the seat of power of evil personified.

This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please E-mail me at: janjoyce@aol.com

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