How can believers go into the final seven years, if God has not appointed them to wrath?
You believe that there will NOT be a Pre-tribulation Rapture, which means that you feel believers will enter and go through most the final seven years before Jesus returns. Yet, Luke 21:36 states, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." God has not appointed the righteous to wrath. He stated that we will escape all these things, not some but All.
All throughout the Bible God has made a way of escape for the righteous. Look at Rahab and her family, Noah and his family, David, Moses, and I could go on. But when God pours out His wrath, it will not be upon His children. Also, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." Therefore, how can believers go into the final seven years if God has not appointed them to wrath?
Luke 21:36 seems to indicate that some believers may escape some of from the trials and tribulations of the 70th Week (the final seven years of this age, prior to Jesus' return to rule and reign). It certainly does seem to urge believers to pray accordingly. Before I tell you what I think Luke 21:36 could mean, though, I want to explain some other things first.
First of all, Luke 21:12,16 indicates that many believers will be persecuted, and some will be put to death. Matthew 24:7-9 indicates that it is after the "beginning of birth pains" that many will be persecuted and put to death.
There are clear parallels between Jesus' Olivet Discourse and the events associated with the first six seals of the scroll in Revelation—the latter which, most agree, will take place during the 70th Week:
Therefore, there will be persecution of believers during the 70th Week, especially after the Fifth Seal is opened (Revelation 6:9-11).
It is true that God has not appointed the righteous to wrath. However, it is an erroneous assumption, by most who embrace the Pre-tribulation view of the Rapture, that the entire seven years will be composed of God's wrath. In fact, it is not even until after the Sixth Seal is opened (Revelation 6:16,17) that the word "wrath" appears in the Book of Revelation.
It is only at that point, after the cosmic disturbances (sun turns dark, moon turns red, etc.) have begun, that the unbelievers will realize that God's wrath is imminent—that is, that the great day of God's wrath (the "day of vengeance") is at hand. This will commence with the opening of the Seventh Seal, followed by the supernatural trumpet judgments and bowl judgments.
There is nothing inherently "wrathful" about nations coming against nations, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and pestilences. It very well may be, during this alarming and disquieting time in the world, that God gradually will be removing His helping, sustaining hand from the earth (allowing nature to "let loose" with numerous disasters and calamities) and from the activities of humankind (allowing the global socio-economic system to collapse, and allowing the Antichrist and the kings of the earth to rise to power and persecute Jews and Christians).
Note Daniel's statement:
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom (Daniel 7:21,22).This clearly indicates persecution of saints, up until the point that they will possess the kingdom, which will be most of the way through the 70th Week.
Truly, the Bible describes many cases of escape, by God, for the righteous. He probably will provide miraculous provisions for many believers, especially during the final half of 70th Week, to help them escape death and even much of the persecution that will take place. Thus, Luke 21:36 very well may be indicative of this protection of believers, while still on the earth. That is, they may "escape" persecution and death via God's supernatural protection, rather than via a Rapture event.
I firmly refute the possibility of a Pre-tribulation Rapture, even though it is anticipated by many. However, I believe there very well could be a Mid-tribulation Rapture. The main Pre-wrath Rapture event will not take place until after the Sixth Seal has been opened (when God's "children" will be caught up and away). It is only after that point that the saved believers are seen in heaven, as the multitude in white robes (Revelation 7:9,10). Then, soon after the opening of the Seventh Seal, His righteous wrath will begin. I believe that, most likely, God's wrath will transpire during the seventh year.
John indicated that an Israeli remnant of "the woman" will escape and be taken care of "for a time, times and half a time"—that is, "for a year, two years, and half a year," or 3½ years. This will be the final half of the 70th Week. During this same period, Satan's rage will increase:
Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17).Clearly, those who "hold to the testimony of Jesus" are Christian believers, most of whom will be present on the earth during much of the second half of the final seven years.
Certainly, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, which you pointed out, is very comforting. However, it does not indicate a Pre-tribulation Rapture. God's supernatural wrath, which will be doled out by His angels, will not begin to be "blown" and "poured" out upon the earth until after the Seventh Seal has been opened. This will follow the Sixth Seal events, during which the main Rapture event will take place. Those left behind will realize that God's wrath is imminent, causing them to run and hide in caves and under rocks (Revelation 6:15-17). Unfortunately for them, this will not enable them to avoid the wrath and vengeance of God that is about to come upon the whole world during the horrific day of vengeance period.
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