Summary: The Tribulation Period is coming...is there any escape? For the believer--absolutely!
1 Cor 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. NKJV
The May 1984 National Geographic showed through color photos and drawings the swift and terrible destruction that wiped out the Roman Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in A.D. 79. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was so sudden, the residents were killed while in their routine: men and women were at the market, the rich in their luxurious baths, slaves at toil. They died amid volcanic ash and superheated gasses. Even family pets suffered the same quick and final fate. It takes little imagination to picture the panic of that terrible day.
The saddest part is that these people did not have to die. Scientists confirm what ancient Roman writers record--weeks of rumblings and shakings preceded the actual explosion. Even an ominous plume of smoke was clearly visible from the mountain days before the eruption. If only they had been able to read and respond to Vesuvius's warning!
There are similar "rumblings" in our world: warfare, earthquakes, the nuclear threat, economic woes, breakdown of the family and moral standards. While not exactly new, these things do point to a coming day of Judgment (Matt. 24). People need not be caught unprepared. God warns and provides an escape to those who will heed the rumblings.
There are many different views on the End Times. I believe that the Pretribulational (Rapture), Premillennial (Return of Christ) view is the most true to the Scriptures. Although there are many views on the timing of the rapture, most of them flow out of four different ideas as to when the rapture will happen.
The first is our view, Pretribulational, which means that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation period as revealed in Revelation 6-19 and other prophetic passages.
The second view is the Partial Rapture view. This is the view that only an elite class of righteous believers will be raptured, and those not in that class will be left behind.
The third view is the Mid-Tribulation view; it's doctrine is that Christians will be on earth until the midpoint of the Tribulation period.
The fourth view is the Post-Tribulation view, essentially a U-turn of Christians going to heaven in the Rapture at the end of the Tribulation period then turning right around and coming back with Jesus. These last three views are not true to the natural, literal interpretation of the Word as we will see in the next few days.
In the next few weeks of devotionals, we will explore the dispensational, literal view. This view is based upon a literal view of God's Word according to the original languages (taking the Scripture at "face value") and upon a faithful view of God's promises to Israel. God's promises are as good as gold to us and Israel. If God did not keep His promises to Israel, how then could we ever trust Him?