Friday, May 6, 2022
In the plummeting moral decay, violence and lawlessness of the world, Christ gave us the repeated end-time mandate to “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42); and “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matt. 25:13); and “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning” (Mark 13:35); and “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 21:36). Watchfulness is God’s mandate to preparing and enduring to the end.
Being watchful, according to God’s Word, reveals knowledge of critical points in time; of the tribulation start, and when God’s elect enter His divine protection in the middle of the coming seven-year tribulation. God told us when the tribulation begins; He revealed both halves, or the two sets of 1,260 days each, or the two sets of 42 months each, or two sets of 3 1/2 years each, that comprise the seven-year tribulation; confirming Christ gathering His elect, not before, but “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31). While true born again believers are Christ’s elect, I realize that there are millions of believers who errantly exempt themselves from the elect by believing themselves to be special or privileged and being raptured before the tribulation even begins. To their loss they’re self-deceived; and to their loss, they feel no need of being “Watchful therefore” of the end-time events Christ clearly taught as a preparatory tool for the protection of His elect. Today I’ll share how to identify the tribulation start, and why that’s important. God’s Word is given for the benefit of His elect, those who actually love the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Here’s how to identify the start of the seven-year tribulation—the Apostle John “was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. [The third rebuilt temple in Jerusalem] But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. [People who are not true Jews, Rom. 2:28–29] And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. [The first 3 1/2 years of tribulation] And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days [42 months] clothed in sackcloth’…And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; [As it was in the days of Elijah when he called for a 3 1/2 year drought in the days of King Ahab and his Queen Jezebel] and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with plagues, as often as they desire. When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. [This is the middle of the tribulation when Antichrist’s mark of the beast goes global, and there’s a brief window of time for “the freewoman” of Gal. 4:21–31, “the woman” of Rev. 12:6, 14 to escape to God’s safety and provision for the last half of tribulation] And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves…Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold the third woe is coming quickly” (Rev. 11:1–14).
When the two witnesses of Rev. 11:3 begin their 1,260 days ministry, the seven-year tribulation will have begun. In the event of WWIII, chaos, censorship, power outages, or loss of internet, it’s going to be vital to be able to number the days from the beginning of the tribulation to the middle point, so that true prepared, and “watchful” believers will know of their appointed time to flee to God’s safety and provision for the last 1,260 days of “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21). But pre-trib believers have no mandate to be “watchful” of tribulation events, nor “watchful” of anything except an early resurrection rapture, of which God warned, see 2 Tim. 2:16–18. Unprepared and unaware, many pre-tribbers will be little different from the five foolish virgins of Matt. 25:1–13, and as a result many will not “be counted worthy to escape” (Luke 21:36) to God’s safety and provision for the great tribulation. Because of false teachings and unbelief many will learn too late, after the window of opportunity has closed, as it was when God closed the door of Noah’s Ark, and people outside the Ark fell to destruction. No, God did not appoint His people to wrath, but if His people ignore His warnings and teachings, as did ancient Israel, neither will they be worthy to enter the shelter and provision of God for the last 1,260 days of great tribulation.
The second half of the seven-year tribulation is identified by the escape of “the freewoman” (Gal. 4:21–31), same as “the woman” (Rev. 12:6, 14) escaping to God’s safety for 1,260 days. “Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days…[This is when the mark of the beast is mandated]…But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a times and times and half a time, [3 1/2 years] from the presence of the serpent” (Rev. 12:6, 14). She is the watchful and prepared Bride of Christ—“counted worthy to escape” (Luke 21:36), to her place of God’s provision for the last half of the tribulation. Again, God did not appoint any of His people to wrath, but if His people ignore His Word of provision as ancient Israel did many times, then many of God’s people will find themselves outside, unprotected, and open to Satan’s wrath, having become like the five foolish virgins of Matt. 25:1–13. And as a result of having been deceived, many will fall away! In Jesus’ discourse wherein “the one will be taken and the other left”, the disciples knew Jesus was describing a time and place of escape, and asked the question “‘Where Lord?’ So He said to them, ‘Wherever the body is, there the eagles [The guiding sign to the safety and provision of God] will be gathered together’” (Luke 17:37).
I pray for those, who, through corrupt Dispensational pre-trib rapture teachings, and unbelief, do not yet discern the testimony of Christ, that they will believe before it’s too late, and “be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass” (Luke 21:36). No, God did not appoint any of His people to wrath, but ancient Israel being our example, 1 Cor. 10:11, clearly shows us what God will and will not do regarding His people. We will either believe Jesus Christ, or not!
Marlin J. Yoder