Most Bible expositors either teach that Believers in Yahushua ("Jesus") will be caught up (“raptured”) to Heaven before the events of the Great Tribulation and the Day and the Wrath of Yahuah ("God") commence, or that they will be supernaturally protected from those events. However, both of those views result from a carnal, worldly-minded focus and misunderstandings of Biblical terms and the sequence of End of the Age events.
As has been explained throughout this commentary, the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of the Lord are not synonymous terms. Many Bible expositors and teachers label the entire Final Seven Years ("Daniel's 70th week") as “the tribulation” and make no distinction between that period of time and its events and the Day (and the Wrath) of the Lord. But an honest examination of the text reveals that The Great Tribulation (cf. Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14) is totally different from the Day of the Lord, which includes the Wrath of the Lord. The Great Tribulation is the wrath of Satan (Revelation 12:12) being poured out on all who oppose him and begins at the midpoint of the Final Seven Years when his incarnation, Antimessiah declares himself to be “god” (cf. the commentary on Revelation 7:13-14c). However, the Day of the Lord begins later, at the end of the Final Seven Years, when the "last plagues of the Wrath of the Lord" - begin to be poured out on the followers of the anti-messiah (cf. the commentary on Revelation 6:15-17; 15:1).
Nowhere in Scripture are the Followers of Yahushua (the “Church”) promised exemption from any of the physical suffering, tribulations, persecutions and death that are the lot of all human beings as long as we are in our corrupt, human flesh and subject to sin. Our complete exemption from suffering will occur only when we are in our new, glorified bodies in the presence of our Redeemer, first in Heaven, then in His millennial kingdom. Yahushua Himself told his disciples that they would suffer persecution and tribulation (cf. Matthew 24:21; Mark 10:30). And the apostle Paul frequently spoke of his infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, distresses and so forth (e.g., 2 Corinthians 12:10).
There are two extremes in interpreting what the Bible states about suffering. One is the “word of faith,” “health, wealth and prosperity,” “name it and claim it,” “believe it and receive it” doctrine that no suffering in this life is necessary for the Believer whose faith is intact. The other is that true Believers in the Messiah will escape to Heaven in the Rapture before the real suffering of the Great Tribulation and the judgments and Wrath of the Lord begin. Both views are flawed, unscriptural and potentially tragic, resulting in the destruction of the faith of those who cling to either doctrine when they find themselves in the midst of the wrath of either Satan (the Great Tribulation) or the trumpet judgments of the Lord. So, let us look briefly at what it really means to be saved from the Wrath of Yahuah.
The Day of the Lord and His Wrath
In the Bible, the Day and the Wrath of the Lord are very prominent and important prophetic themes. The explicit term, “Day of the Lord,” occurs over 20 times in Scripture. It is used in both the Old Covenant Scriptures and the Renewed Covenant Scriptures. It is described by eight BCE prophets, mentioned by three CE writers, and alluded to many other times as “that day,” “the Day of the Messiah,” and by other terms. Here is the prophet Zephaniah’s description of that Day:
The great Day of [Yahuah] is near, near and coming very quickly. Hear the sound of the Day of the Lord! When it’s here, even a warrior will cry bitterly. That Day is a Day of fury, a Day of trouble and distress, a Day of waste and desolation, a Day of darkness and gloom, a Day of clouds and thick fog, a Day of the trumpet and battle-cry against the fortified cities and against the high towers [on the city walls].
I will bring such distress on people that they will grope their way like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their bowels like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them. On the Day of the Lord’s fury, the whole land will be destroyed in the fire of His jealously, for He will make an end, a horrible end, of all those living in the land. (Zephaniah 1:14-18)
The Day of the Lord will begin with the sounding of the seventh and "last trumpet," at the end of the Final Seven Years, at which time the resurrection of the Righteous will occur and the Messiah Yahushua will return and “catch away” the Redeemed of Yahuah to Heaven (Revelation 10:7; Mark 13:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). Next, as previewed in Revelation 6:12-14, while the marriage and wedding feast of the Lamb and His Bride are being celebrated in Heaven (Revelation 19:7-9), the “last plagues” of the Wrath of Yahuah will be poured out on Earth (Revelation 15:1, 16:1).
Then, the newly-crowned King of kings and Lord of lords (the Messiah Yahushua) will descend with the armies of Heaven (the glorified Saints and angels) to destroy His enemies at the battle of “Armageddon,” cast Antimessiah and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire, and cleanse the earth of all unregenerate earth dwellers (Revelation 19:11-21).
Then, after binding and imprisoning Satan, the Messiah will establish the glorious millennial Kingdom of Yahuah on Earth (Isaiah 11:12; Zechariah 14:1-11; Revelation 12:6, 14). At this time, the heavens and earth will be renewed and New Jerusalem will descend from Heaven (cf. Isaiah 65:17, 18; Revelation 21:1). Then, the Messiah will bring His People Israel out of the “wilderness” into which they have fled from the persecution of the anti-messiah, and the tribes of Israel will occupy the Land (Ezekiel 40-48). And the surrounding nations will be formed by the descendants of Gentiles on whom Yahuah will have mercy and will also allow to enter His millennial kingdom (Zechariah 14:16). Those who are on the earth in their physical bodies during the millennial reign of the Messiah (Israel and the Gentile nations) will be ruled by Him and the redeemed, glorified Saints from New Jerusalem (Revelation 2:26-27; 20:4). Finally, the Day of Yahuah will end with the Final Judgment when the Redeemed of the Lord will be ushered into eternity in His glorious presence and the damned (including Satan) who rebel against the King of kings will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
That is the sequence of events of the Day of the Lord according to the plain, common sense, literal, face value reading of the text of Scripture, not cluttered or confused by pre-conceived notions of that sequence of events.
Basically, the Day of the Lord will be the biggest showdown in world history - preceded by a period of time of three and one-half years during which the Lord Yahuah will be methodically and inexorably taking back the wonderful, perfect Creation that Satan usurped from Him 6,000 years ago. The Lord will first set Satan up - giving his incarnation, the "beast" (Antimessiah), a short period of time (42 months) after proclaiming himself to be “god” to (in his deluded mind) establish his dominion on Earth (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:4-5). Then, through a series of ever-intensifying, supernatural disasters, Yahuah will demolish Antimessiah’s global kingdom.
But, the point is, we don’t want to be on Earth after the Day of the Lord starts - during the time when the "last plagues" of Yahuah’s wrath are being poured out here! It is going to be a wonderful, glorious time from the perspective of those who are already in Heaven as we celebrate with all the heavenly hosts the destruction of the Lord Yahuah’s enemies and the redemption of His Creation, but a horrible, horrible time, like the world has never before seen, for those still on Earth. The remnant of Yahuah’s People Israel and those God-fearing Gentiles who are still on the earth, who have not given in to the incredible deception or agonizing oppression of that time and who have not taken the mark of the beast, will be supernaturally protected and saved, but all others who have been suckered or pressured into following Antimessiah as their (false) messiah and have taken his "mark" (Revelation 13:16; 14:9, 11) will find themselves in unimaginably horrible, hopeless straits.
For details of the above sequence of events, please read the commentary on Revelation Chapters 6-20.
When, in the sequence of end-of-the-age events, will the Day of the Lord and His Wrath occur?
As with other future End-Times events, the timing and sequence of events involving the Day of the Lord is a matter of great debate among Bible scholars and prophecy teachers. Nevertheless, the sequence of events is clear in Scripture:
Virtually all scholars and teachers who believe in the literal seven-year scenario agree about the Great Tribulation (although most do not acknowledge it as the wrath of Satan rather than the Wrath of Yahuah), the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of Yahuah being part of it. The disagreement is over the timing and sequence of events within and immediately after the seven years. Joseph Good (www.hatikva.org), for example, believes that the Day of the Lord, the Great Tribulation, and the Wrath of Yahuah all run concurrently throughout the seven years. The prewrath rapture people - Robert Van Kampen [deceased], Marvin Rosenthal, Charles Cooper, et al. (cf. www.prewrathrapture.com) - believe that the Great Tribulation comprises a short period of time immediately following the midpoint of the seven years, after which the Day of the Lord, which includes the Wrath of Yahuah, will occur during the last year or two of the seven. S. R. Shearer (www.antipasministries.com) believes that the Great Tribulation comprises the entire seven years, with the Day of the Lord being a literal 24-hour day that occurs on the last day of the seven years.
This commentator has been studying the prophetic Scriptures and all these teachings for many years, and tends to go along, to a limited extent, with the prewrath view because it seems to be the most natural, literal, common-sense interpretation which best harmonizes all the prophetic Scriptures. However, if one holds to a literal prophetic fulfillment of the Spring and Fall feasts of Yahuah, then, just as the Messiah’s first coming, death and resurrection, and the pouring out of His Spirit were exactly, to the day and hour, foreshadowed by the Spring Feasts, His second coming, the resurrection and rapture of His Bride, the pouring out of the "last plagues" of the judgments of Yahuah (the bowls of wrath), the “sheep and goat” judgment, and the establishment of His millennial kingdom must all occur within the 15-day period of the Fall Feasts following the sounding of the seventh and final trumpet blast, or at least follow the prophetic sequence of the events rehearsed by those feasts. And close examination of the wording of the text of Revelation chapters 6-20 seems to clearly confirm that sequence and timing of the events of the Final Seven Years. Again, please read the commentary on those chapters.
But, guess what? - when it comes down to where “the rubber meets the road” - to how I need to be living my life in the present moment - I do not know and I do not care about the exact timing and sequence of these events. All that I really know and care about is that they will occur, and I need to be doing my best to be warning everyone I can to be prepared, regardless of where, in the sequence of events, they find themselves.
On the other hand, our Savior did not give His Revelation of the "end-of-the-age" (Matthew 24:3) events to us for no reason. He gave it to us so that we will, like the tribe of Issachar, understand the times in which we live and will know what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32), which includes "coming out of her" (Babylon the Great) spiritually, so that we do not "partake of her sins and receive of her plagues" (18:4). It also includes "enduring to the end" (read Matthew 24:13 in its context), rather than expecting to escape the coming times of increasing tribulation in a fanciful rapture or expecting to overcome, in the flesh, the supernatural power and forces of the anti-messiah ("Antichrist").
And I can testify, from my own experience, that the Lord Yahuah has made it clear, at least to those who study the prophetic Scriptures diligently and sincerely want to know the Truth, the sequence and timing of the events of the Lord's Revelation. And all that the endless debates over controversial times and sequences accomplish is to distract us from living each day in total self-denial for the good of others and the glory of Yahuah, and so, I believe, are nothing more than devices of Satan to distract us from the work of Yahuah on Earth at the present time. I doubt that the untold millions around the world who are in agonizing suffering, starving to death, freezing to death, being oppressed, persecuted, tortured or killed every day are very concerned about when the rapture will occur or when their oppressors (and Yahuah’s enemies) will be destroyed and they will be saved, do you? They just need to know that it will happen, and that it will happen soon, and what they need to do about it. They need salvation and hope, not details about controversial events not clearly spelled out in Scripture.
And there are clear indications that the implications of the events of the Final Seven Years pertain just as much to the Jews who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, although they do not yet recognize that He is Yahushua, as to the Community of Believers in Yahushua (the "Church"). For example, the seven years are called “the Time of Jacob’s [Israel’s] Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). And this will be especially true during the Days of Awe, after the Body of Believers in Yahushua has been taken to Heaven. Because Revelation gives the details of how the prophecies of the Old Covenant Scriptures will be fulfilled, when these things do begin to occur just as was prophesied by Israel's prophets and by Yahushua to His Disciples and in the Revelation, their eyes will be opened to see that He is the Messiah for whom they have been looking (Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10-14; Revelation 1:7). And that is why it is just as important to preach the Gospel according to the Revelation to the Jews as to the Gentiles (Romans 1:16): They may not immediately accept it, but when these events begin to unfold, their eyes will be opened to the Truth, and they will be saved (Romans 11:26)!
But meanwhile, are you ready for all these wonderful or terrifying (depending on your point of view) “. . . things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1)?
Where will you be on the Day of the Lord?
When the plagues struck Egypt, some of them afflicted the children of Israel as well as the Egyptians, but the worst did not. Likewise, Believers present on Earth during the last half of the Final Seven Years will not be able to completely avoid being affected, either directly or indirectly, by some of plagues of the trumpet judgments of the Lord, but will not be affected by others. Also, please notice that about two-thirds of Earth's inhabitants - both Believers and non-believers - will not be affected at all by the plagues of the trumpet judgments (Revelation 8:7-12; 9:15, 18).
However, all the unsaved earth dwellers who have taken the mark of the beast will be affected by the bowl plagues (notice, in Revelation 16, that the whole earth will be affected by the plagues of the bowls of wrath). But the Bible indicates that Believers in Yahushua who are present on Earth during the second half of the seven years will not have to endure the “last plagues” of the Wrath of Yahuah (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 15:1). That's because the Redeemed will be “caught up” (from the Latin, rapio) in our newly-acquired, glorified bodies, to meet the Messiah in the sky, then taken to a place he has prepared for us (in Heaven) following the seventh trumpet blast at the end of the Final Seven Years, but before the plagues of the bowls of wrath are poured out (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; John 14:2-3; and the commentary on Revelation 10, 11, and 15.)
For more on the timing of the Rapture, read Appendix 7 - When is the Rapture?
So, although Saints will be present during the Great Tribulation (which will be the time when Satan's wrath, not the Lord's, will be poured out [cf. the commentary on 12:7- 17g; 13:6-10b; 14:6-13d; and 16:15]), if they endure whatever trials and tribulations come their way, overcome whatever obstacles Satan places in their path, and keep doing what Yahuah has given them to do until The End, they will be saved (cf. Matthew 24:13; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26).
Of course, I am not teaching a work-your-way-to-Heaven salvation here. I acknowledge that it is only by Yahuah’s grace and Spirit that we can do anything right. But I just wanted to point out that endurance and good works (by Yahuah’s enabling Spirit) are necessary confirmations of a saving faith (cf. James 2:17). In other words, if the Holy Spirit does not dwell in us, enabling us to live a good life and do good works out of the Spirit of Yahuah's love, then our “faith” is phony and will not get us to Heaven. Just because we believe in our heads that Yahushua is the Lord does not make us eligible for citizenship in the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12) and the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21). Only if Yahuah the Holy Spirit dwells in us, enabling us to “. . . deny [ourselves], take up [our] cross[es] daily, and follow [Him]” with our whole heart, soul, strength, time, and all of our possessions, can we be sure of escaping the Day and the Wrath of Yahuah, and ultimately eternity in Hell.
As is mentioned on other pages of this website, most American "Christians" are deceived. We have a strong tendency to think that we are okay with the Lord when we are not. How about you? Have you really surrendered your life - “lock, stock, and barrel” - to the Lord Yahuah, in the name of Yahushua the Messiah, and do you know that the Holy Spirit is in you, enabling you to do everything that you do? If you are not sure, you’d better make sure, before you find yourself right in the midst of the worst nightmare (but real) that you have ever conceived - the awesome, terrible Wrath of Yahuah.
If you have any doubt about where you stand with the Lord, please let me encourage you to read: Appendix 5 - The Subtle Demise of True Christianity.
And to help you visualize the sequence of events of the Final Seven Years and beyond, click on the image below.
Has the Lord Yahuah given you additional insight into how to study and understand Bible Prophecy? If so, you are invited to add your own page of commentary. (To be approved for inclusion in this website, your commentary must be relevant to this page's topic (the Wrath of Yahuah], contribute to our understanding of the topic, and be solidly based on Scripture.)
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