29 Dec 2012-
In the book The Last Trumpet: The Mystery of God is Finished and a New Age Begins, author Robert Johnston explores biblical prophecy and the promises of God that relate to the end times. This excerpt is from chapter 2:
PASSING THE TORCH OF THE KINGDOM
By this time the faithful Christians will have run the race for two thousand years and will have finished their course. In approximately AD 81 the apostle John was transported in his spirit to heaven and was allowed to see the future. While in the spirit on the future day of the Lord, the apostle John saw that the rapture of the righteous will take place after Jesus opens the sixth seal of sealed future events (Rev. 6:12; 7:9–17). The rapture will coincide with the sealing (God’s seal of protection) of the one hundred forty-four thousand servants from the twelve tribes of Israel. After the rapture some believers who did not make themselves ready and worthy to meet Christ as well as those who are not saved and the entire Jewish nation will remain here on earth.
Along with the one hundred forty-four thousand Jews who are sealed (protected) will be men and women who believed they were saved but hadn’t prepared themselves, washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb (v. 14). They could also be among the ones who had “fallen away” before the rapture occurred. They will go through trials to be purified, and they will be delivered before the wrath of God comes if they do not take the mark of the beast.
And some of those who are wise, prudent, and understanding shall be weakened and fall, [thus, then, the insincere among the people will lose courage and become deserters. It will be a test] to refine, to purify, and to make those among [God’s people] white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for the time [God] appointed.
—Daniel 11:35 (AMP)
God will also seal one hundred forty-four thousand Jewish believers, and they will minister to the entire Jewish nation, whom God will shelter and protect during the last three and a half years of the tribulation period. This matter will be discussed more fully later.
EVENTS ON EARTH AFTER THE RAPTURE (THE LAST THREE AND A HALF YEARS)
Once the seventh seal is opened (immediately after the rapture of the righteous and the sealing of believers on earth), seven angels with trumpets will announce the judgments of God (not his wrath) that will come on the earth. The seventh angel will alone announce God’s wrath. Notice that even during these first six judgments God will hold back his wrath. These particular judgments will be like warnings to repent before the wrath of God comes. The seven angels will blow their trumpets to announce the following judgments (Rev. 8–9):
First Trumpet—Hail and fire will burn all green grass and one-third of all trees in the world.
Second Trumpet—A burning mountain will fall into the sea, causing one-third of the sea to turn to blood and destroying one-third of sea life and ships.
Third Trumpet—A burning star will fall on one-third of the rivers and fountains on earth. Many will die because the waters will become bitter.
Fourth Trumpet—One-third of the sun, moon, and stars will darken, causing total darkness on one-third of the world during daytime and nighttime.
Fifth Trumpet—Smoke from the bottomless pit will darken the sun and release ferocious locusts and scorpions to torment everyone on earth who do not possess the seal of God, for five months.
Sixth Trumpet—Four fallen angels will be unbound and lead an army of two hundred million mysterious creatures to slay one-third of the world’s population. At this point the mystery (Ingathering of the Gentiles) of God will end, and His wrath will begin.
Seventh (Last) Trumpet—The last seven plagues of God will be poured out by seven angels carrying seven bowls of wrath on those who possess the mark of the beast because they will no longer be able to repent. But before the plagues are poured out, the remaining saints on earth who have not taken the mark of the beast will be delivered (see Rev. 15:2).
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