Part 5/5: Comparing the Prophets to the Olivet Discourse Framework

This is the final post in a five-part series related to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse Framework.

In this series we’ve reviewed Jesus’s Olivet Discourse Framework, recognized the critical undergirding of the Old Testament, and studied multiple passages depicting the great end-time gathering. All of this ties together and provides a solid basis upon which to ground our understanding and synthesize a big picture framework of major events that lead to the day of the Lord.

Why does it matter to study these Scriptures about events leading up to and including the day of the Lord? Well, for every Christ-follower, the day of the Lord is our “blessed hope.” We should not only anchor our hope on the good news of Christ’s second coming, but also understand the major events leading to His return! Why? So that we can more earnestly watch, pray, and look for His revealing from the heavens (Mark 13:33; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 5:4–6; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 3:12–14; Jude 1:21).

To do this, it is critical to recognize the distinct purposes between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. He first came as a lamb and suffering servant for the forgiveness of sins. Accordingly, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies regarding suffering and sacrifice (Acts 3:18). But as you know, much more remains to be fulfilled!

Jesus will one day return from heaven like a lion in power and glory to fully accomplish the expectant words of His holy prophets (Acts 3:20–21) concerning both judgment (Acts 10:42; 17:31) and restoration hope (Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 3:13). While the sacrificial system of the Old Testament has become obsolete through the new covenant, today we hold the same eschatological hope as that espoused and taught by the law and prophets (Acts 10:42–43; 24:14–15; 26:6–7; 28:23)! Therefore, repent and be converted (Acts 3:19) so you can enjoy the the glory and blessing to come at Christ’s second coming (1 Peter 4:13; 5:4; Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:8; Colossians 3:4; Philippians 3:20–21; I John 3:2–3)!

Lining up the Prophets with the Olivet Discourse

It is a joyful exercise to see how the Scripture ties together so well. As promised, with this final post in the series, I’d like to demonstrate this cohesion using Jesus’s teachings as our gold standard benchmark.

Seven passages from the prophets will be compared with Jesus’s Olivet Discourse framework: Isaiah 13, Ezekiel 38, Zechariah 12, Zechariah 14, Jeremiah 4, Joel 2, and Joel 3. With a consistent and relatively straightforward narrative, the distinct parallels between the prophets and the Olivet Discourse shouldn’t be dismissed. These New Testament teachings from the mouth of Jesus, the greatest prophet, is a substantial authentication, confirmation and corroboration of the veracity of the Old Testament prophecies.

Please note: For easier reading, you may find it helpful to zoom-in with your browser to read each of the comparison charts. My comments after each comparison are very brief. This exercise is primarily intended to highlight the consistent voice of the prophets regarding the climactic events leading to the day of the Lord and how their messages are consistently aligned with Jesus’s Olivet Discourse teaching. Since there are so many examples to draw from (Ezekiel 38:17), this may become somewhat repetitive to you as we move from prophet to prophet. But repetition is good!

Let me encourage you. This takes time. While the Word of God isn’t a breeze-through novel, its commentary unto itself is deeply enriching. And though some of my conclusions may depart from current Christian thinking, I believe they stand up to biblical scrutiny. That said, I’m far from perfect and thus urge and implore you to be like the Bereans, who “searched the scriptures daily” to see if these things were so. Now to begin the study . . .

Isaiah 13:4–13 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

The key takeaway is the consistency between the sequential flow of events in Isaiah 13 with the teachings of Jesus. And while the rather straightforward narrative here in Isaiah 13 is one rooted in historical fulfillment, we see that it arcs forward to the day of the Lord and has future applicability. Many parallel Scripture references could be given to bolster the fact that Isaiah is speaking about a future day of the Lord, but that’s not the point of this exercise. Rather, I would like to highlight that sudden desolation and destruction is apparent on the day of God according to Isaiah’s description. Clearly, there is immediate, robust, dramatic consequence when Christ is revealed in power and glory. This is confirmed in the New Testament (Matthew 24:30, 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; 2 Peter 3:10, 12; Revelation 14:9–10).

Ezekiel 38:12–23 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

Ezekiel 38:16 explains one of the main purposes and outcomes of the great end-time gathering of the armies of Antichrist (see also Ezekiel 36:23; 38:23; 39:6–7; Zephaniah 2:10–11; Isaiah 45:21–25; 59:19; 64:2)

And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:16)

The day of the Lord initiates with the powerful, mighty, and glorious “presence” of the Lord (Ezekiel 38:20). And with great hailstones, fire, and brimstone, Ezekiel 38:22–23 depicts a conclusive end to this present evil age of “many gods” to a future age full of the glory of “one God” Jesus Christ! All will “know the LORD” when He “magnifies” Himself and puts asunder all the gods of the earth (Zephaniah 2:11).

In addition, pull out your bible and read Ezekiel 38:15–23. For the gathering to accomplish the Lord’s purposes, does it make sense for this climactic chain of events at the end of the age to occur over a period of several years or several days? How could the Lord’s fury and wrath (Ezekiel 38:18–19) directly destroy the armies of evil with great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:22) if the gathering occurs over three years earlier? If there is a gap of over three years, the gathering loses its climactic feel, and the connection between the Lord’s presence and the gathered armies is severely muted. A scenario where the gathering occurs very near to the return of Christ appears more plausible since the gathering is met directly by the Lord!

Zechariah 12:2–10 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

Zechariah 12 succinctly takes us from the gathering rage of evil to the end of the age. Verses 8–10 highlight two main events of the day of the Lord; the Lord’s wrath and remnant Israel’s repentance. When the Lord forcefully and abruptly stops the enemies in a powerful way (Isaiah 30:27–28) they turn to Him!

Many other passages could be selected, but in regards to Israel’s repentance, compare the grace, supplication and resulting repentance referenced in Zechariah 12:10 with Isaiah 59:19–20, and also where Paul refers to Isaiah 59:20 in Romans 11:26–27.

So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (20) And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 59:19-20 emphasis mine)

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:26–27 emphasis mine) 

Zechariah 14:1–13 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

Zechariah 14 follows the narrative of Jesus without question. And we know that this chapter leads to the same destination as Ezekiel 38:23. Why? Because of the stark similarities and context. They teach about the same day-of-the-Lord events when the Lord causes men to kill each other as in the day of Midian (Zechariah 14:13, Ezekiel 38:21–22, Isaiah 10:26), along with a “great tumult from the LORD”. These day-of-the-Lord events ultimately lead to Jesus as King over all the earth (Zechariah 14:9) because of His great power, glory and victory! The nations will know that Jesus is LORD!

Jeremiah 4:5–6, 13–28 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

A certain pattern exists in the various prophetic declarations. In Jeremiah 4, we again see remarkable consistency with Jesus’s narrative.

Many things get our attention with this passage, including the great shaking (Jeremiah 4:24), the darkened heavens (Jeremiah 4:28), and the Lord’s call for the hearts of Israel to be washed from wickedness to experience salvation (Jeremiah 4:14). But, the most powerful of all is reference made to the “presence” of the LORD. Undoubtedly this is a prophecy of the Lord’s coming on the “day of the Lord” to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42, 17:31) along with fulfilling a host of other purposes that we’ve discussed many times.

Joel 2:1–11 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

It has become a constant theme. The parallels between Jesus and the prophet Joel are also clear and distinct. The end-time gathering is spoken of as an unprecedented event (Joel 2:2), there is an indirect reference to travail (Joel 2:9), and there are direct references to a great shaking and cosmic events (Joel 2:10) the day of the Lord (Joel 2:11).

In addition, Joel 2:3–6 seems to be a rare mention of the 6th Trumpet where John saw horses, and them that sat on them, spewing fire, smoke, and brimstone out of their mouths. Aspects of the 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl could also be in view here? As far as I can tell, Joel 2 contains the only reference in the prophets to one of the preceding plagues in the book of Revelation. This is telling. But, this fits my proposed framework, and I believe it is what we should expect! Most importantly, I believe it also fits with Jesus’s teaching in Luke 21:11 where “terrors and great signs from heaven” occur before the gathering and cosmic events.[i]

Joel 3:9–16 compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse

The alignment between Jesus’s Olivet Discourse and the prophets continues to be consistently consistent! And, doesn’t it seem right that signs in the heavens will precede the apocalyptic return of Jesus in power and glory? During His first coming, the skies turned black at the death of Christ and an earthquake announced His resurrection. Not unexpectedly, cosmic events in the heavens and a great shaking on the earth will announce and precede His glorious and powerful return to harvest the earth (Joel 2:30–31; 3:15; Isaiah 13:10; Matthew 24:29–31; Mark 13:24–27; Luke 21:25–28; Revelation 6:12–17). The harvest of the earth is comprised of two primary events. First, the reaping of the righteous (Revelation 14:15–16). Second, the reaping of the wicked (Revelation 14:9–10, Rev 14:18–19, Joel 3:13).

A Clear-Sounding Trumpet

The oft-repeated prophetic warning of the day of the Lord and the harvest of the earth emits a distinct, clear, and certain sound. These messages uttered by the prophets are so consistent and contagious because their Author is God! Time after time we have seen messages from several prophets line up consistently with Jesus’s Olivet Discourse. We should take note. The distinct parallels are hard to dismiss. This deserves our respect.

The Book of Revelation compared to Jesus’s Olivet Discourse and the Prophets

Now, what about the debated book of Revelation? How does it align with Jesus and the prophets? Do we read the book strictly in a sequential chronological manner? Or, are there some parallels within the book of Revelation due to certain visions witnessed by John being recapitulated in unique ways?

In my book there is a proposed framework which I believe aligns with both Jesus and the prophets (see below). Obviously, I could be wrong. I simply think it is very important to build from the bottom up. In other words, the prophets (including the greatest of prophets the Lord Jesus Christ) should serve as the foundation of our understanding. Then, our interpretation of the complicated book of Revelation should complement, not contradict, the gold standard of Jesus and the prophets. As you can see, and as I described in the last post, I believe the climactic world-wide gathering (which begins at the 6th bowl/vial) is the same climactic end-time gathering that we read about in the prophets that leads to the soon and sudden return of the Lord! The 6th bowl/vial gathering fits each of the defining characteristics described by the Old Testament prophets.

Clearly, the proposed framework shown below for the book of Revelation flows in sync with the narrative of Jesus and the prophets in an expected left-to-right chronological sequence. I have studied other frameworks for the book of Revelation, such as the pre-tribulation, pre-wrath, and “classic” post-tribulation views. Especially with the pre-tribulation and pre-wrath views, there is chaos and disarray when comparing and contrasting those frameworks with the teachings of Jesus and the prophets.

The above consistencies between the Olivet Discourse, the prophetic oracles, and the book of Revelation fit together like a glove.

For full disclosure, let me tell you when my deep dive into the book of Revelation occurred. Years ago, I embarked upon a very in-depth study of the prophets. This was followed by a study of the Olivet Discourse. For the Olivet Discourse, I studied all three synoptic gospels together using side-by-side columns that I assembled, one each for Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It was after these studies when I began to deeply explore and peer into the book of Revelation. There is no doubt that my proposed framework was strongly influenced by that sequence of study.

Many believe the day of the Lord is comprised of months and months of plagues (i.e. Trumpets and Bowls/Vials) that increase in intensity over a long period of time. But isn’t the focus of the prophets on the main event––the power and glory of God!? The “day of the Lord” is not about pre-cursor events but rather the great day when Christ is revealed!

Described below are three principles that are tethered to my proposed framework: 1) the emphasis by the prophets of Jesus Christ on the day of the Lord; 2) the emphasis by the prophets of the latter days gathering that leads to the day of the Lord; and 3) the emphasis by the prophets of events to occur when the 7th angel sounds to proclaim the day of the Lord.

So what about Revelation 16:14?

The real question is whether or not the world-wide gathering event of Revelation 16:14 is the same gathering event referred to by Jesus and the prophets. As you can tell from what I have written above, I think it is the same event. It appropriately and contextually fits within the narrative of the prophets. Moreover, it leads to the same event depicted by the prophets’ time and time again (i.e. the Lord coming to destroy the gathered armies).

On the flipside, if you elect to interpret the unprecedented evil gathering of Revelation 16:14 (that begins at the 6th bowl/vial) as a separate and distinct event from that referenced by Jesus and the prophets, it is like building without a foundation. We need to stand on solid ground, not spiritual sand. To conclude that Revelation 16:14 is a separate gathering event than that spoken of by Jesus and the prophets, the following weaknesses must be accepted:

  • After each of the prophets describe a unique, vast, evil gathering toward the land of Israel, we can find nothing in their consistent narrative of events that hints at another massive gathering just prior to the day of the Lord. Therefore, we are electing to interpret Revelation 16:14 as an isolated event that has no other scriptural witness even though the prophets frequently spoke in detail about this exact time period.
  • After Jesus describes an evil gathering of armies in Luke 21:20, we can find nothing in His continuing narrative of events that hints at another massive gathering just prior to the day of the Lord. Won’t the return of Jesus Christ serve the purpose of cutting short the days of great tribulation directly caused by the gathered armies? Isn’t this “cutting short” in reference to the gathered armies Jesus spoke about in Luke 21:20? In forcing another gathering event after Luke 21:20, we are electing to interpret Revelation 16:14 as an isolated event that has no other scriptural witness even though Jesus spoke in detail about this exact time period.
  • Even though Revelation 16:14’s unique, vast, evil gathering looks, sounds, and feels identical to the narrative of the prophets; even though Revelation 16:14’s gathering flows in sync with Jesus’s narrative as depicted in my proposed framework; and even though the composition of the evil gathering of Revelation 16:14 (“the beast” and “the kings of the earth” and “their armies”––Revelation 19:19) matches the descriptions given by the prophets, we must conclude that it is not the same massive gathering.

These are notable weaknesses. Something is amiss if Revelation 16:14 is a different gathering event than the evil gathering declared by the prophets and Jesus.

The Crux of the Issue

Isn’t it common sense that Jesus would affirm the message of the prophets? Doesn’t it make plain sense when we read of a great end-time evil gathering leading directly to the presence of the Lord, that we should appreciate yet another of many “witnesses” the Lord has given us in Scripture? After all, many times the prophets spoke of this gathering (Ezekiel 38:17) and many times the prophets spoke of the occasion when “there should be time no longer” (or “there will be no more delay” as the ESV translation states) when the 7th angel begins to sound with the last trumpet for the day of the Lord (Revelation 10:6–7). This is important. The message of the prophets about the day of the Lord is vivid and alive, and is especially relevant to the events of the 7th angel when the mystery of God is finished and fulfilled.

The climactic day of the Lord at the 7th angel features: the resurrection of the dead and judgment (Revelation 11:18); a plague of enormous hailstones (Revelation 11:19; 16:21); the unleashing of fire and brimstone from the altar of God (Revelation 8:5; 14:10); voices, thundering, lightning, and an earthquake (Revelation 8:5; 11:19; 16:18, 21); the full strength cup of God’s orgē wrath (Revelation 6:16–17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19); and dominion on earth given to Christ (Revelation 11:15; Daniel 7:14, 27) to restore creation and reign in glory and righteousness as King of kings and Lord of lords at the conclusion of the great and notable day of the Lord (Revelation 19:16).

The simple, plain, and straightforward correlations between the prophets, Jesus, and the book of Revelation should come at no surprise. All of us love how Scripture is an integrated whole and works together in a big story from Genesis to Revelation.

But why is it exceedingly difficult for most students of Scripture to make these correlations?

Maybe it’s because I’m too simple-minded and just plain wrong in what I’ve shown with these comparisons? Or, perhaps due to one critical prophetic text in Daniel Chapter 9, most are compelled to place the climactic evil gathering spoken by the prophets and Jesus at the mid-point of a future 7-year tribulation period, thus stripping the natural climactic feel generated from a simple reading of the text?

It’s time to take a fresh look at Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy and explore even more of the fascinating cohesion of prophetic Scripture when seen through plain interpretation methods, Scripture harmonization, a futuristic lens, respect for Israel’s election, and an eschatological framework aided by the Jewish feast days—all leading to a monumental day of transition, the second coming of Jesus Christ on the day of the Lord.

This great and notable day is the heartbeat of prophetic Scripture. You can begin the exploration by submitting your email on this form and I’ll email a free PDF of my book to you. Or, just shoot me an email.

Blessings,
Brandon


[i] As we’ve seen several times now, the primary focus of the prophets begins with the gathering (i.e. Trumpet 6/Bowl 6 – Ezekiel 38:17) and ends with the day of the Lord (i.e. Trumpet 7/Bowl 7 – Rev 10:6–7). It is a repetitive presentation. So, while biblical and extremely important, the preceding Trumpets and Bowls/Vials were less relevant in the Old Testament. Why? Because the Lord primarily revealed to the prophets the climactic events leading to the day of the Lord at the 7th angel (Revelation 10:6–7).

Here is a question. If the day of the Lord is comprised of a long series of Trumpets followed by a subsequent series of Bowl/Vial plagues, why is there zero mention of this by the prophets? In contrast, we see the opposite with Joel’s mention of the 6th, and possible aspects of the 5th Trumpet and 5th Bowl, occurring prior to the cosmic events and the day of the Lord. This is problematic for those who attest that the day of the Lord will be a long, drawn-out ordeal comprised of months and months and months of heavenly wrath and plagues from God. In a plain, straightforward way, Scripture depicts judgment day as robust, dramatic, sudden, quick, and powerful. It is the revealed presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory and power that brings a harsh and final judgment on the day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:7–9), not a long series of great sights and fearful sights from heaven (Luke 21:11). It’s important to note that these “terrifying sights” and “great signs/wonders/miracles from heaven” recorded in Luke 21:11 occur prior to the great end-time gathering and fleeing as recorded in the Olivet Discourse (cf. Matthew 24:15-16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:20-21). Said another way, Jesus said that great signs/wonders/miracles from heaven are birth pains that occur prior to the abomination of desolation.

Those in the pre-tribulation and pre-wrath camps attest that the entirety of Trumpets 1 thru 7 and Bowls 1 thru 7 represent the “wrath of God” which believers are to be delivered from and not suffer. However, it is important to understand that the wrath followers of Christ will not experience is the (orgē––G3709) wrath of God (Romans 2:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 6:16–17; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19) which is specifically the final, full-strength cup of wrath, anger, and indignation poured upon the ungodly at the time of the 7th angel.

Part 4/5: The Great End-Time Gathering (part 2)

Post Series: Jesus’s Olivet Discourse Framework
1/5: Laying out Jesus’s Olivet Discourse Framework – posted 1/12/2018
2/5: The Critical Role of the Old Testament – posted 2/10/2018
3/5: The Great End-Time Gathering (part 1 of 2) – posted 6/4/2018
4/5: The Great End-Time Gathering (part 2 of 2) – posted 6/6/2019
5/5: Lining up the Major and Minor Prophets with Jesus’s “Gold Standard” Framework

Without a doubt, prophecies from the Lord come true even if recorded in the ancient past. This is awe-inspiring. The Word does not (and will not) fail. What a God we serve!

Over the course of hundreds of years, the Lord inspired prophets to write lively oracles where certain writings have a contemporary application (in and around the time of the prophet) but then arc forward to events that are still in the future as of 2019. The main event—the day of the Lord—is the ultimate destination. Grasping this scriptural trajectory that places the day of the Lord as the climactic finale to this present age is critical. But its anticipation is not constricted to the Old Testament. The New Testament alone contains well over 100 references to the day of the Lord. According to Scripture, it’s what everything is moving and building toward.

But wait a second, should we expect literal fulfillment of the day of the Lord? As far as prophecy has already been fulfilled, it has been a literal fulfillment—a virgin birth in Bethlehem; a suffering death as the Passover lamb; no broken bones; casting lots for the parted garment; and on and on. Furthermore, prophecies of exile and oppression for Israel have occurred literally. Based on this pattern (notwithstanding the frequent use of poetic and apocalyptic language by the prophets) are we wise to not take God’s future promises and declarations at face value!?

Let’s be clear, even with explicit chapters such as Isaiah 53, no one was prepared for the unexpected hidden mystery of Christ’s death at His first coming. Though told by Jesus several times in advance, the disciples didn’t grasp it either!

But with the second coming of Jesus, much of the script is laid out and Jesus teaches us to watch and be prepared. Of course there are mysteries and unknowns, but at some point the stage will be set, and in His time, God will orchestrate and bring this age to its grand finale according to the prophets (Revelation 10:7). Rest assured, God isn’t going to send us a new script, and He doesn’t tell us to scrap the canonized prophetic oracles because they no longer bear truth or have become outdated. Like the first century church, we in the 21st century need to affirm the relevancy of the prophetic testimonies as indispensable to both our current and future hope (Acts 3:21; 10:42–43; 13:34; 24:14–15; 26:6–7; 28:23; Romans 15:8)!

Life in Christ is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling. Yet, in our corruptible bodies we groan for redemption right along with the whole creation (Romans 8:17, 22–23). We are to fix our hope on the grace, glory, hope, and salvation to come at the revelation of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:4; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; I Peter 1:10–11, 13; 4:13; 5:4; 2 Peter 3:13)!

The One True God at the 7th Thunder, 7th Trumpet, and 7th Bowl—
Since it’s been a long time between postings, I urge you to go back and re-read the series, or at least the previous post. We explored the major attributes of the gathering and saw how this is the plan of God. The purpose has been declared. The place has been chosen. The end result of the gathering is the ultimate crushing of the Evil One and the absolute exaltation of God as the one true God (Isaiah 45:5–6, 18, 22; Ezekiel 36:23, 38:16, 23; 39:7)! This is quite dramatic when considering today’s climate and culture, and history in general. Today we see “many gods” being worshipped and given priority and status above the God of the Bible. But the Lord Jesus will put asunder all the “gods of the earth” (Zephaniah 2:11) and the “power of the air” (Isaiah 24:21, 34:4). The fall of the false gods via the power and glory of Jesus will impel a universal acknowledgment of the one true God! The heathen will “know God” when He appears in glorious, unmistaken power. Ezekiel eloquently writes this when stating one of the primary purposes for the end-time evil gathering.

And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:16 emphasis mine)

What an incredible declaration. This verse should greatly inform and shape our understanding about the tight link between the great end-time gathering and the day of the Lord. Indeed, the hammer of judgment will powerfully fall upon the ungodly and in some amazing fashion the glory of the Lord will strike the attention of all the world and every creature, every knee, and every tongue will respond that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the father (Isaiah 45:22–25; Philippians 2:10–­11; Revelation 5:13). His power and glory will not leave any doubt (Isaiah 40:5; Ezekiel 38:20, 23; Zechariah 2:13; I Peter 4:13). All little “g” gods will be destroyed (Zephaniah 2:11) and there will become only one King and one LordJesus Christ (Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 11:15)! The name above all names who will bear rule over all the earth after a climactic finale to this present evil age! The return of Jesus will make certain scriptures untrue and impotent—namely the “god” of 2 Corinthians 4:4, the “prince” of Ephesians 2:2, and the “present evil age” of Galatians 1:4!

A wondrous reversal it will be. At this point, Satan’s time is over (Revelation 10:6–7, 11:15–18; 16:17)! In unison we can declare, “he is finished!” As the 7th angel begins to sound, the day of the Lord will occur just as God declared to the prophets (Revelation 10:7). What a rich inheritance is coming (Ephesians 1:18, Matthew 19:29, 25:34)!

The Great End-Time Gathering in Revelation 16—
Now, let’s move back in time to the gathering that precedes the exaltation of Jesus Christ as the one King and one Lord. The pouring out of the sixth vial’s contents causes an incredible event. A world-wide provocation will ensue. This provocation is namely to those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark. I say this because of Revelation 14:9–10. It appears that everyone who fits the qualification of Revelation 14:9 will suffer the consequence of Revelation 14:10 on the day of the Lord (i.e. fire and brimstone associated with the presence of the Lamb). This is sobering. Blind to the consequences, hordes of people will be enticed and deceived to worship the beast and receive his mark through the powers and wonders displayed by the first and second beast (Revelation 13:11–18). Pure deception. What a strong need to walk in the Spirit, to pray for grace and wisdom, and to say “No” to every temptation and every enticing thing that is instigated by the Evil One whether today, or in context of his persecution against the saints (Revelation 13:3–4, 7–8, 11–14). Jesus says endure to the end and continue preaching the good news of the kingdom until the end of the age when the harvest comes (Matthew 13:40–42; 24:13–14).

Now let’s read the text.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. (14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16) And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12–16, emphasis mine)

How does the above passage—describing a unique, unprecedented, divinely-allowed, pre-day of the Lord, worldwide-in-scope gathering—fit the defining characteristics of the great end-time gathering that we discussed in the last post? I believe that all of the boxes can be checked and that we find a direct correlation.

To gather the heathen into one place like sheaves for the threshing floor (Micah 4:11–13); to gather the “kings of the earth” as prisoners to cast them into the pit (Isaiah 24:21–22); and to gather ripe clusters of grapes from all over the earth for crushing in the winepress of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:18–19, Joel 3:13).  
To gather the heathen toward Jerusalem, and specifically toward Mount Zion (i.e. the Holy Hill of God / mount of assembly / location of temple—see endnote of the last post for more information).  
A unique and intense supernatural force as caused/allowed by the Lord will sweep across the world and stimulate those who are aligned with the beast kingdom to head toward, surround, and invade Jerusalem.  
The scope of the gathering is worldwide.  
The gathering is met directly by the presence of the Lord (i.e. God interposes into the gathering and renders it impotent)

The provocation that begins at the sixth bowl leads to a world-wide gathering that is unto the “great day of God Almighty.” Each of the defining characteristics identified from Old Testament passages reviewed in post 3/5 are evident in Revelation 16.

Here is my primary question: Isn’t the 6th bowl of Revelation 16:14 describing the same climactic end-time gathering commonly pronounced by the Old Testament prophets (Ezekiel 38:17)?

Rev 16 Gathering in OT

We’ll review this in Post 5/5 of this series, but to summarize, multiple Old Testament prophecies describe a climactic gathering to the land of Israel in the latter days, which is then met directly by fury and wrath from the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of the Lord. Among other commonalities, these multiple accounts witness to: 1) the huge gathering wreaking great havoc and causing much travail and suffering in the land; 2) a great shaking of dramatic proportions along with the darkening of the skies; and 3) salvation in the land and a universal acknowledgment of one King and one Lord. The narrative in these passages is relatively straight-forward. This climactic event of evil gathering toward Jerusalem in the latter days sure seems like the same event as prophesied in Revelation 16:14.

Below is a decision-chart for Revelation 16:14. As I worked through this, three options came to mind. As you’ll see, both option A and Option B seem to end with insurmountable weakness. I am unable to find a trustworthy biblical response that addresses the noted weaknesses.

[I admit, my framework of understanding is not tied to a 3.5-year period of tribulation at the end of the age followed by 3.5 years of great tribulation for a total tribulation period of 7 years. While it is reasonable, and I respect the long-held 7-year end time framework, I’m not comfortable with it. Rather, I support a 3.5-year tribulation period capped off toward the very end of the age with several days of great tribulation. This is the framework presented in my book. I continue to peer into Scripture and so far I am comfortable that the proposed 3.5-year framework conforms with the biblical narrative.]

Rev 16 Decision Chart

I’ll leave you to ponder on this. And next time, In the final post of this series, we’ll evaluate these things in light of Jesus’s Olivet Discourse.

Blessings,
Brandon

The Resurrection and Rapture

Controversy abounds on this topic. Pre-trib? Post-trib? Pre-wrath? When is the rapture? Due to the integral connection between the resurrection/rapture and the day of the Lord, there are several places in my book that this important topic is discussed (pages 34-40, 111-112, 174-177, 198-203, and 256-260). Personally, I’m not sure that I fit into a predefined category. I would hold to a post-tribulation rapture position, but not in a “classic” sense.

More important than what “camp” we endorse is the need for our hearts to elevate the words of Scripture higher than any position we hold. Therefore, should we become aware of a biblical truth that we previously had not considered, we are in a surrendered position where our understanding can always be moved closer in alignment to the Scripture as a whole. Easier said than done!

The purpose for today’s post is two-fold. First, I would like to share a snippet from my book found on pages 34 to 36 (see below). Second, I would like to introduce you to a presentation file (The Resurrection, Rapture, and the Day of the LORD) that I recently put together and uploaded to the Resources area of my website. I believe that there are several important factors we need to consider when studying this topic. With the background of those considerations, and in light of the snippet posted below, I make an effort in the presentation to:

a) evaluate the timing of the resurrection/rapture; and
b) uniquely synthesize several “day of the Lord” Scripture passages to try to simplify this complex and difficult subject.

The Resurrection, Rapture, and the Day of the LORD

Please enjoy, and warm regards,
Brandon

**********

[the following is an extract from pages 34-36 of The Day of the Lord and the Coming Kingdom]
Next to occur, I believe, is the resurrection and rapture of the saints. The timing of the resurrection and rapture is discussed in greater detail in the chapter on the Olivet Discourse. It is also discussed in the chapter on Revelation in the review of the seals, trumpets, vials, and thunders, as well as the harvest of the earth. Briefly, I believe in a post-tribulation resurrection and rapture on the last day. Jesus referred to the resurrection occurring “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), as did also Martha (John 11:23–24). After cosmic events, I believe the seventh trumpet will sound. In context, Scriptures teach that the day of the Lord and the “gathering together” are accompanied by the great sound of a trumpet, also referred to as the last trump (Matthew 24:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52, et al).

The resurrection/rapture is not imminent. Our “gathering together” to Him at “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:1) will not occur until after the time of Antichrist and the abomination (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). The “coming” in verse 1 is the parousia (Strong’s G3952), defined by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as “the advent, i.e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God.” The occurrence of Antichrist’s abomination before the second coming is simply and plainly taught by the apostle Paul. He tells the church not to be “shaken in mind” or “troubled” that the day of the Lord is present or will be coming in an instant (2 Thessalonians 2:2). The Greek word Paul uses is enistemi (Strong’s G1764), which teaches that the day of the Lord is not imminent, nor is it even presently on hand! Paul further writes, don’t let anyone deceive you, for that day shall not come (i.e. the parousia) except there first comes a defection from the truth and the man of sin is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Essentially Paul is calming their anxious hearts by stating that a specific event must occur before the second coming. That event is the revealing of the Antichrist and later his abomination where he “exalts himself” so that “he as God sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)!

Is the resurrection and rapture of the church distinct and separate from the future resurrection of the Old Testament saints? What did the apostle Paul know when he wrote to the Corinthian church? What we know is that his inspired letter was penned decades before John’s Revelation. And we know that Paul was well acquainted with the Old Testament. In that light, he ties together our future resurrection/rapture with that noted by the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 25:8) and Hosea (Hosea 13:14) by quoting Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 15:54; “then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory,” and Hosea in 1 Corinthians 15:55; “O death, where is they sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I believe the Scriptures most plainly teach a resurrection of all the righteous dead, both the church and the Old Testament saints, at the last day and at the last trump. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6).

It is a wondrous thought that the resurrection and rapture will include the righteous saints of old along with the church, who we recognize are all part of a singular body (Ephesians 2:12–22, 3:6, 4:4–6), though with clear distinctions since Pentecost. The fact that Isaiah remarked on his personal resurrection in the context of the day of the Lord and indicated that “in that day” a great trumpet would be blown is marvelous (Isaiah 26:19, 27:13). And it stirs my heart to consider the faith of Job and the longing in his heart to picture the day when he himself would be resurrected and behold God with eyes made new (Job 19:25–27). Job understood death and the resurrection of the body in the context of Job 14:12, a verse that states clearly “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more.” This is unmistakably the day of the Lord when the “heavens shall pass away with a great noise” (2 Peter 3:10).

Will the resurrection/rapture be a sneaky event with no advance warning? Absolutely not. The believer who is watching, waiting, and “of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:4–6) will be armed with awareness due to the warnings and signs from Scripture leading up to that powerful and glorious day.

From the following Scriptures, we can be confident that the resurrection and rapture will be:

  • Preceded by the aforementioned cosmic events
  • Audible (there will be a trumpet sound, the voice of the archangel, and the Lord will roar and shout)
  • Visible (Jesus will be seen coming in the clouds)
    [end of extract]