To start with, let me clarify something about the title of this section. I am not meaning here that the events from Revelation 12:1 to 15:4 will all occur exactly in the middle of the Tribulation, or that they will even occur between the trumpets and the bowls. I only mean that they are found written about in the book of Revelation between the trumpets and the bowls. Actually, it is a parenthetical passage meant to convey details of key events during all of the Tribulation and especially during the last three and a half years of it. But it is more than a record of key events. The passage is meant to give us background information or a setting for the Tribulation and for the main characters: for Satan, Israel, Christ, the two beasts, the 144,000 witnesses, and certain angels.
We will divide this lengthy passage into seven parts:…
I have just started reading through Revelation, and I keep noticing the many quotes about Jesus, which have been given to us through the apostle John, by “His angel” (Jesus angel, Rev. 1:1; 22:16). The angels are such good witnesses to Jesus; we ought to pay attention to what they say. Here are the quotes I ran across so far, up to Revelation 3:14.
[He is] the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. [He] loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father (Rev 1:5-6).
I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades (Rev 1:17-18).
[He is] the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life (Rev 2:8).
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword (Rev 2:12).
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze (Rev 2:18).
He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars (Rev 3:1).
He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens (Rev 3:7).
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (Rev 3:14).
And He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 “For He will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again. ” 34 And they understood none of these things, and this saying was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said (Luke 18:31-34).
In the above text Jesus foretells to His disciples His death and resurrection. And, in verse 34, we see that what He was telling them kind of went into one ear and out the other. They just didn’t get it. The full meaning was hidden from them. Why? Here are two reasons:
1. Because they weren’t ready or willing to except it. They were expecting His kingdom to come soon and they couldn’t believe that it would not come in their lifetime—and that He would soon die. They weren’t ready for that and couldn’t believe it. So, in their mind they rejected it.
2.So that Scripture would be fulfilled without interference. If they had partially understood, certainly things would have been different. They may have organized a protest. Or on the other extreme, if they had fully understood, Peter wouldn’t have denied Him, etc. But God could not let either of those things happen. Scripture had to be fulfilled as written. He must suffer and die as written in the prophets, so that our salvation would occur as promised—to all those that believe.
Applied to Us Today
In this day, just as in New Testament times, many believers, even pastors, in the same way do not understand the prophetic words of Scripture. It is mysteriously hidden from them. I remember one time when I was speaking to my pastor about a passage in Daniel 9. I don’t remember all the details of what was spoken (it was a long time ago), but I remember him saying to me, “What in the world are you talking about?” What I was saying just wasn’t registering to him, and he refused to listen to me. I see now that he, and many like him, are blinded from the truth of Bible prophecy. It is hidden from them.
Why is it hidden from them? Partly because they do not take the time to study it. Also, providentially speaking, if they did fully understand, the prophetic word of God would not play out as decreed in Scripture. Things would happen to incorrectly delay (or speed up) His coming and to change Scripture. But that cannot happen and will not happen. Hence, we must not be upset over all those who do not understand Bible prophecy; for it is in the providential will of God in order that all Scripture be fulfilled.
However, I’m sure that it is God’s will that as many as are willing to study the prophetic Scripture, He will help them; He will help that select few, to find the truth about what has been said in regard to future things.
How Christians Can Begin to Understand Bible Prophecy
If you think you are one of God’s chosen few who will come to understand future things, I think I can help you. Here are two good websites to aid you:
This is one of the best sites for Bible prophecy information, as well as to get a correct Christian world view. The thing that I really like on this site is the weekly, on line, radio show where Jan Markell (the founder) interviews one or two bible prophecy experts.
Founder Bill Koenig is a Christian White House news journalist. From this site you will get the best up to date White House and world news from a Christian perspective. It is the best news source I know of.
Let’s see, my interest in Bible prophecy began when I was about 8 or 9 years old, when I began hearing people talk about the Rapture. I can’t remember who it was, whether it was a preacher or maybe my mother. Anyway, they would be trying to describe how quickly Jesus would come and take us away. They would say it that will be as fast as the twinkling of your eye. And then they would try to explain how fast that would be. And I remember someone saying that it won’t be the blinking of the eye but the twinkling of the eye.
Well that was the start of it. And that thought continued to intrigue me for many more years. Gradually my knowledge of the bible increased as I read more and more of it, especially after I was saved at age 12. Oh yes, and one of the things that excited me and turned me toward salvation is the knowledge that heaven would be a real place. I remember talking to my camp counselor about it. I had the idea that heaven would be like a dream, but he told me that it would be just as real as our life now, and even better.
So that’s the early background I had in bible prophecy. Not a lot, but those few pleasant thoughts of the Rapture and heaven really took hold. I remember, along the way, that I read some books on the subject. One was by Hal Lindsey. I read parts of it, and it seemed interesting, but I think it overwhelmed me a bit. So, I chose not to strain my brain on the subject. For the most part, I just held to the belief that someday Jesus would come to take me away. That’s all I really needed to know.
Well, years went by and God kept opening the door to more and more prophecy teaching. In 1977 I began attending Northwestern Bible College in Minnesota. I liked all my professors; and one in particular, Dr. Edwin Hartill was a good prophecy teacher. The classes from him were all excellent: Hermeneutics, Bible Survey, and Revelation. He definitely believed in the pre-tribulation rapture, and he wasn’t afraid to teach it.
During the same time my church put on a week-long seminar by J. Dwight Pentecost (a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary). He was teaching from his new book, Things to Come. What a treat! What a great book! I remember him saying something like, when it comes to the Pre-tribulation Rapture, I am not only dogmatic about it, I am doubly dogmatic! His book lays it out quite well. I have the book, and whenever I want to know anything about bible prophecy, I can usually find it there.
A few years went by, and I think it was about 1993 when I began going to these bible prophecy conferences once a year. They helped me tremendously in my faith and kept me looking up. One particular speaker that everyone liked was Dr. David Larson. He was the pastor at First Covenant Church in Minneapolis.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a prophecy conference, but I do listen to Jan Markell’s weekly radio broadcast, where she hosts excellent speakers from all over the country. They are so good. I have also been doing some writing. This I think has helped me the most, because it has forced me to read and study the subject. So far, I have been able to write two books on bible prophecy: Biblical Evidence of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and The Coming Millennial Kingdom. Both of these are self-published under my name, and printed by Lulu.com. I also have a another book coming out soon, called, After the Rapture: What Happens on Earth and in Heaven after the Rapture.
So there you have it: how I became interested in bible prophecy. And my interest remains strong. At the same time, I feel sad that so many have little interest in the subject and so many preachers purposely ignore the subject. I don’t know for sure, but I have been told that most of the Seminaries are teaching against the Pre—tribulation Rapture and are instructing their students that the subject of prophecy should be regarded as nothing more than a distraction.
I think I can see how this wrong teaching fits today—that is, how it is a sign of His soon coming. For we are told in 2 Peter 3:3 that in the last days there will be “mockers,” saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” And we also see in these days that people are not enduring sound doctrine, but are listening only to those who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3).
But I am determined to seek the whole truth, which includes bible prophecy. We must open our ears to all of the word of God. It is all inspired by God and we must pay attention to it. The truth is, Jesus is coming very soon. He said in His word, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).