These passages were compiled by our brother, Alan E. Kurschner, Ph.D., Eschatos Mimistries. I have the pleasure and liberty to comment on them briefly.
In passage #4, we looked at the person and activity of the restrainer. In passage #5, we shall examine and establish the teaching that the Rapture occurs after the [Great] Tribulation of those days.
Matthew 24: 21–22, 27, 29–31
“For then there will be great tribulation unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. . . . For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming [parousia] of the Son of Man will be. . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. ”
The KJV says:
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”(Matt.24:21-31).
Matt.24:9-14 is a panorama on the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation begins in v 9. Verse 15-31 is a periscope on the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is precipitated by the Abomination Of Desolation which is the image of the antiChrist, the man of lawlessness(KJV: man of sin), erected in the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem at the Gentile takeover of the Temple at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel when the antiChrist makes His debut on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The statement, “And then shall be Great Tribulation,” indicates that the Great Tribulation is precipitated by the preceding event which as we have pointed out is the abomination of desolation(Dan.9:27; v 15).
The Great Tribulation will be a worldwide programme implemented by the antiChrist, but its epicenter shall be the Holy Land of Israel and its Holy City, Jerusalem. During the Great Tribulation, believers, Jews, and anyone else who repudiates the authority of the aC by refusing to bear the mark of allegiance to the Beast on his right hand or left hand or forehead shall be executed, tortured, imprisoned or starved even to death.
Verse 29 makes it clear that the gathering together of the saints to meet the Lord in the sky shall be effected by the angels of God when the trumpet is blown with the voice of the archangel, an incident which occurs AFTER the [Great] tribulation of those days, and the darkening of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, which is the sign of the end of the ages. This tribulation is no doubt the Great Tribulation mentioned in v 21 which shall not be comparable to any in the annals of history. The Great Tribulation is synonymous with the “Time Of Jacob’s Trouble.”
“For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”(Jeremiah 30:5-7).
We can see that that Day is Great and there is none like it. When the antiChrist takes over the Temple Mount, sets up his image in the Holy Of Holies of the Rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, and surrounds Jerusalem with his armies, fear shall take hold of every Jewish Israeli. Because they are seized with fear, they shall put their hands in their loins like a woman in the pains of labour. We can see that the time of Jacob’s trouble begins at the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, not at its commencement, when the abomination of desolation is setup in the Third Temple which is the image of the antiChrist. As a matter of fact, the Israelis will be happy at the commencement of the 70th week because of the peace deal brokered by the antiChrist between Israel and seven of its Arab and Islamic neighbors and the resumption of animal sacrifice and drink and grain offering which had been suspended since 70 AD when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. Peace with its Arab and Islamic nations will boost Israeli economy through trade. The economy will be booming during the first half of the 70th week of Daniel. Israel will enjoy a relative while the rest of the world is plunged into wars and rumours of wars, and commotions. The Prophet Jeremiah says the same things as does Daniel whom our Lord Jesus quotes in His Olivet Discourse.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”(Daniel 12:1).
This day shall begin when the restrainer, archangel Michael “amads;” that is, ceases to do what he normally does, that is fight for and defend the people of God, the children of Israel, and the believers in Jesus the Christ(2 Thess.2:6-10). The Prophet Isaiah declares that it shall be terror to understand the REPORT.
“Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.”(Isaiah 28:14-19).
The scornful leaders of Israel shall trust in the peace treaty which the aC shall broker between Israel and her Arab and Islamic neighbors, not knowing it shall be like the treaty of Hudaibiyyah(628 AD) which Mohammed broke to attack the Arabs of Medina, like the non-aggression pack between Germany and Russia, the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement(1939) which Hitler flagrantly violated to invade Russia.
What report? That the antiMessiah has taken over the Temple Mount, erected his enlivened image in the Holies Of Holies of the Rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah, surrounded Jerusalem with his armies which are the most sophisticated and equipped with the most up-to-date(state-of-the-art) in military weapons. This day, an extended length of time, not a 24-hour period is different from all other. This period will be the worst period in the history of humanity on Earth. There will be none like it. The Holocaust will pale in comparison. It will be a terribly difficult period because the bed shall be shorter than he that lies on it, and the duvet narrower than he the tries to wrap himself with it.
“For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.”(Isaiah 28:20).
In v 30, the tribes of the Earth, the wicked earth-dwellers, those who have the mark of the Beast, are weeping and mourning at the sighting in the sky of the Son Of Man coming with power and great glory. Why? Because they realize He is about to punish them for their evils. This is the wrath of God. These are not secret, silent, nor sudden events which shall precede the rapture of the saints.
We see our Lord Jesus says in the Olivet Discourse the same thing that Apostle said to the Thessalonians. The Day of the Lord, from which the believers are exempt(Col.3:6; Eph.5:6) cannot begin until AFTER the revelation of the Man Of Sin(Lawlessness), until AFTER the Great Tribulation, until AFTER the cosmic and celestial disturbances associated with the breaking of the sixth seal(Rev.6:12-14), which is the sign of the End Of The Ages, and will abruptly bring the Great Tribulation to an end.