After the Rapture . . . - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
When we're not being accused of false teaching over a pre-Trib Rapture or the doctrine of eternal security, we're getting beat up over the view that what the Bible calls the Times of the Gentiles concludes at the Rapture, so does God's redemptive plan for the Gentiles.
It isn't a popular view -- especially among Gentiles. The popular belief is that those Gentiles that rejected Jesus during the times of the Gentiles will suddenly become heroes of the faith during the Time of Jacob's Trouble.
It's a nice thought. But it really doesn't make a lot of sense, Scripturally or logically. Let's look at it logically, first.
Where is the logic in assuming that a person living during the Age of Grace, called by the Father, with the Presence of the Holy Spirit to guide him will reject salvation now, but when the Holy Spirit and the Church are gone, will somehow be able to see through the strong delusion that the Scriptures say God Himself will send to ALL those "who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
The Bible says that during the Tribulation, the only ones "sealed" or indwelt by the Holy Spirit are 144,000 Jewish male virgins in an event so significant that it rates a whole chapter.
Why is it so significant? Two reasons. The first reason is because these 144,000 are now the only living human beings indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If the Church were present, then the 144,000 would be saved and indwelt the way that Church Age believers are.
"So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing cometh by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)
That's how it works during the Times of the Gentiles. That's why the Apostle Paul wrote it in his letter to the Romans. Salvation comes to an individual individually. It is one on one between the sinner and God. During the Age of Grace, the mechanism of salvation is spelled out in this Scriptural equation:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Age of Grace, aka the Times of the Gentiles, concludes when the "fulness of the Gentiles be come in." The Apostle Paul clearly separates the Times of the Gentiles from the Time of Jacob's Trouble, during which time all Israel shall be saved.
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 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)
The 144,000 of Revelation 7 are not depicted as individual believers. They are depicted as having been chosen corporately and sealed en masse and assigned the Great Commission once held by the Church.
Now to the second reason why the events of Revelation 7 are so significant. Without those 144,000 indwelt, Spirit-filled Jews, there could be no Tribulation saints.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Many will point to Revelation 7:14 as evidence that the saved of the Tribulation Period are primarily Gentiles out of every kindred, tongue and nation and so therefore, God's plan for the Gentiles continues into the Tribulation Period.
"And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:13-14)
First, let's look at 'great tribulation'. Many believe that this refers to the Great Tribulation. But THE Great Tribulation doesn't begin until Revelation 13 with the beheadings of those witnesses for Christ.
The 'great tribulation' referred to here is the tribulation inflicted by the world on believers throughout the Age of Grace.
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)
"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" (Romans 5:3)
"For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know." (1 Thessalonians 3:4)
"So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:" (2 Thessalonians 1:4)
I could go on, but these should be sufficient to establish that many saints from every kindred, tongue and nation suffered great tribulation during the Age of Grace.
Second, notice that these are not those who were beheaded for the witness of Christ like the saints of Revelation 14. Instead, these are those who washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb. (Like we did, during the Age of Grace).
Finally, notice the events that come just before and just after the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7.
In Revelation 6:14, the Lamb opens the sixth seal. The significance of this event is explained in Revelation 6:17:
"For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
The breaking of the sixth seal, most scholars agree, is the kick-off to the Wrath of God, the second part, or the "Great" Tribulation.
Follow along with me, here. Once the Lamb breaks the sixth seal, the scene is frozen in place by Divine Decree.
"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." (Revelation 7:2-3)
The sixth seal signals the onset of the Wrath of God, or the Great Tribulation but the scene is frozen in place until after the sealing of the 144,000. It remains frozen until after the breaking of the Seventh Seal.
Revelation 8:1 says that is such a sombre and momentous event that it was followed by a period of silence in heaven for about a half an hour -- followed by the seven trumpet judgments of the Great Tribulation.
Do you see it? The saints of Revelation 7:14 couldn't have come out of THE Great Tribulation because it hasn't started yet!
The 144,000 of the 12 tribes of Israel are 'sealed' with the Holy Spirit -- indeed, the Lord Jesus devotes an entire chapter of His Revelation to the subject. That raises a question: If the indwelt and sealed Church were present, then why seal the 144,000 Jews as evangelists with the Holy Spirit?
The Church Age is over. Those indwelt of the Holy Spirit have been removed at the Rapture. Still, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that one can either impart or receive the Gospel.
However, unlike in the Church Age, those who are saved during the Tribulation are not personally indwelt as in the Church Age and they CAN lose their salvation by accepting the Mark of the Beast.
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:" (Revelation 14:9-10)
The 144,000 Jewish evangelists sealed by the Holy Spirit of God have the same indwelling Spirit that we do during the Church Age -- and that is what empowers them.
It is also how we can be sure that the Rapture comes first.