I counsel thee to buy gold from me tried in the fire (Rev 3:18)
You have been warned in other articles on this website that you should completely turn over your life to Jesus now and let Him bring holiness and righteousness into your life so you won't have to go through any of the Tribulation. If you ignore these warnings or don't give it your best effort, you will not be taken to heaven by Jesus in the First Fruits rapture just before the start of the Tribulation. You will instead be left behind for refining purposes. This is not a punishment from God, but instead mandatory discipline and training for positions of leadership in the millennium kingdom of Christ. This article will show you what will happen to you during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. It will also show you what you must do to please God during this time of extreme testing.
Timing of Events
If you watch TV or read the newspapers you have probably noticed that violence has seemed to increase greatly the last 10-15 years. Pornography on the Internet has also increased, becoming a multi-million dollar industry. Murders, robberies, assaults, sexual predators and child molesters seem to make the news almost nightly and corporations are bending the rules to make a bigger profit. When will it all end?
It won't. The increase of sin is one of the major reasons that God will send the Tribulation upon mankind. This will be a time of testing to wake up the world that all mankind needs to look up to God and recognize and honor Him. If this were to happen now, God would delay the Tribulation. However, most of mankind is not looking to recognize God.
In the near future, the city of Damascus, Syria will be destroyed, probably by atomic weapons (Read The Burden of Damascus for details). A major terrorist act will be committed against Israel by one of the Syrian-supported terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. The Israeli Air Force will retaliate with one or more atomic bombs, and completely level the city of Damascus. This will happen just before the start of the Tribulation. Either just before or just after the destruction of Damascus, the Christians that are fully committed to Jesus, the church of Philadelphia, will be raptured by Him to heaven. This will be a small percentage of the total number of Christians in the world today. The vast majority of Christians will be left behind to be tested by God for 3 1/2 years, the first half of the Tribulation. These believers will be Christians from the churches of Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea. Read What is Now/the Seven Churches for details on the churches of Revelation.
Immediately after the First Fruits rapture, the Antichrist will assume power. He will be given control of much of the world, probably through the United Nations. He will not be an active president or ruler of any country, but will be a great and captivating speaker and will propose a solution to the problems of the world. He will come up with with a brilliant solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and his proposed solution will be accepted by the United Nations in a majority vote. For a season, peace will flourish in the middle east. He could also propose a solution to other problems, such as AIDS, global warming and the energy problem plaguing many countries in the world. He will make a seven-year treaty between Israel and the Muslim countries in the mid-east and perhaps many other countries in the world and Israel will live in peace for about 3 1/2 years. After a season of peace, there will be terrible wars, plagues, diseases and natural catastrophies. About 1/4 of the world's population will die in the first half of the Tribulation. Details of the events of the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation are covered here: Opening of the First Six Seals.
Back to the First Fruits rapture. Although the percentage of Christians taken to heaven by the First Fruits rapture will be a small percentage of the total number of believers in the world, this count could still be in the millions (There are about two billion Christians in the world today). The Antichrist will have a slick answer as to what happened to the millions of Christians that simply disappear. Whatever the answer, most people will believe it. All will be deceived except the Main Harvest Christians that are left behind to be tested by God. Because they will have been warned just before the Tribulation starts that only the most faithful Christians will be raptured to heaven those left behind will know by God's Holy Spirit that things are going to get very difficult for them. They will know at the start of the Tribulation that they will need to pray and look to almighty God for help during this period of testing. They will know that the Antichrist will persecute, torture and kill a great many of them. See Revelation 6:9-11:
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
If you are imprisoned or are about to be tortured or to be put to death during the Tribulation, you must solely rely upon God for His help.
For Main Harvest (MH) believers, persecution will start right after the Antichrist takes power of the world. In the media, MH believers will openly be described as terrorists because of the books, television shows and websites that describe the catastrophic events of the book of Revelation. They will be described as inciting armed conflict between Israel and the surrouding Muslim countries. Non-Christians in the world will heartily agree with this assessment. So it will be easy to convince the leadership of all countries to arrest, torture and kill Christians. MH believers will also be described as against "diversity", and in particular against homosexuality. Christians will be described as "homophobic" and will be arrested for saying anything about how homosexual relations are sinful.
In the various nations of the world, MH believers will start to lose their jobs, businesses and homes. They will have little, if anything to eat and no medical treatment available. In the USA, special prisons will be built, probably on military bases that were closed in the 1990's by the Defense Department. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 passed by Congress on October 17, 2006 effectively gave the President the power to suspend the right of Habeas Corpus, so your Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial will be taken away if you are listed as a terrorist. This bill also allows the President to have you tortured. In other countries of the world, similar legislation will also be passed and similiar persection will effect believers in other countries. The following article provides detailed information on the severe persecution that will be inflicted by the Antichrist upon the Christians Left Behind: Book of Habakkuk.
Things will look terrible for the MH Christian. However, don't fear. If you are left behind after the First Fruits rapture, God will still take care of you. He will give you the strength to stand up to any kind of persecution, torture, or even death. Don't resist. Instead, pray to God continually. It may be that if you are arrested and thrown into prison, there will also be people there that do not yet know Jesus as Savior. It will be your duty to tell them about the forgiveness that God offers them through faith in Jesus Christ. If you have memorized Bible verses, you can simply explain them to those that may be willing to listen to you. Just be faithful. We don't know how many MH believers that will be killed by Antichrist in the first half of the Tribulation, but it could be sizeable. At the mid point of the Tribulation, all Christians that are still alive will be raptured to heaven in the Main Harvest rapture. There could be more than a billion Christians taken to heaven. What chaos will then be in the world. I wonder what reason the Antichrist will give for the disappearance of so many people?
There will be two types of believers left during this period. God will give all Christians talents and resources to minister to others in the name of Jesus and some will produce much fruit for God. About 2/3 of the MH Christians will prove very faithful during the first half of the tribulation. They will witness for God and provide comfort for those that may not even be Christian, including the Jewish people. The faithful believers will receive rewards by Jesus and positions of leadership in the Kingdom of Christ. The second type of MH Christian will be given resources to minister in the name of Christ, but will not prove to be faithful at all. This person will not rely upon God, witness to anyone or help anyone that may be in need. They will only help themselves. They will not even let anyone know that they are Christian. God will be unknown at this believer's job or in his home. To the outside observer, this person is simply an aethist. It is not known if this believer type will suffer any ill consequents during the Tribulation. Probably not. Hence, this believer will not be refined during the Tribulation, so he will not receive any rewards or honors by Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. During this judgment, this wicked servant will be severly censured by Jesus, and tears of anguish will fall from his eyes during the whole millennium Kingdom era. This unfaithful Christian will leave the judgment seat of Christ with his clothes smoking and covered with ashes, because his works were stubble. Click the following link for details: The Judgment Seat of Christ.
A major reason for you being left behind to endure the Tribulation, is that you will have had only a few good works to show Jesus. So, one of the most important actions you can do is to be watching for the opportunity to perform a righteous deed for God. There may not be many opportunities, because evil will rule during the Tribulation. So if you can serve God, you should seize the opportunity. Righteous works you can always perform include prayer, reading the Holy Bible, praising God and encouraging other believers to be faithful.
If you do not now have a dedicated walk with God, you will not be raptured in the First Fruits Harvest and thus be left behind for further refining. Here are some actions you can take to increase your faith in Jesus and ease your burden during the Tribulation:
· Make sure you have Holy Bibles available. You might want to hide several away in safe locations. The Bible is a weapon that should be used by the Christian and the Antichrist will destroy as many as he can find.
· Buy and store in a variety of locations food, clothing, water and medical supplies. It will be your duty to share your resources with other Christians.
· Start a prayer and bible study group for believers. Meet often to strengthen your ties to God and to fellow believers. Make sure that all are encouraged to continue to follow Jesus during the time of testing.
· Start a support group that ministers to Christian families that have had family members arrested, tortured or murdered. If possible, visit and minister to those that are arrested and sentenced to prison.
· Be kind and minister to the Jewish people if given the opportunity. Some of the 144,000 Jews (Rev. 7:1-8) that are called by God during the Tribulation will be ministered to by MH Christians and place their faith in Jesus as a result of your care and love.
· Be watching for and praying for the return of Jesus for the Main Harvest rapture. Jesus' return will be your hope during the time of the Tribulation.
· Rely on the Holy Spirit of God. If you attempt to do a righteous act for God in your own power, you will surely fail. You need to ask for God's help during each and every trial you may have during the Tribulation.
· Pray continuously to God for help, comfort and support. Lift up your needs and the needs of others to God. Praise God especially for the testing you undergo.
· You must never renounce your faith in Jesus Christ. You must never swear any allegiance to the Antichrist.
Encourage Christians that are Weak
Some of the Christians left behind will be weak in the faith. Some will complain about the persecution that they will undergo and will not seek to grow and mature in their faith. Try to encourage them to read their Bibles and pray to God for His help while undergoing testing by Antichrist. Some will not listen, however you should still try to warn them that Jesus will not be pleased with them if they are not faithful to Him.
What Will You Do?
It's not too late to become a member of the First Fruits rapture. Here's the proclamation from Jesus to all members of the end times churches:
Matthew 20. 1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Note that even the members of the Bride of Christ, the small percentage of end time believers that have crucified self still are not perfect, and especially those Christians that have been following Jesus for many years. Jesus knows this and says this to these members of the Bride of Christ in verses 10-16. Jesus does not expect perfection, but does want you to be willing to follow Him and to recognize that you are not perfect and are willing to repent daily if your attitude is not right with Him. These verses show that even up to the last hour of the working day (the last days or months of the Church Age, just before the First Fruits rapture), all workers (Christians) would be called to become a worker for Christ, and if they respond by actually doing the work He gives them to do (crucifying the flesh and living for Him), they would indeed be part of the First Fruits Rapture and rule and reign with Him in His millennium kingdom. Those that have followed Jesus for many years should not ease up in their walking the straight and narrow path that leads into the kingdom, or be resentful of those Christians that decide to follow Jesus at the very end of the Church age. In this parable, the wages are stated as a "penny." However, that is a very valuable penny! It includes crowns and glory and honor and positions of leadership in the kingdom of Jesus. We want very much for you to become a follower of Jesus right now. We want you to receive glory and honor in the kingdom of Christ. Will you say "yes" and become a laborer for God? The few chosen are those that make a serious commitment to follow and serve Jesus now. Those that are not chosen are simply those that would not make a commitment to serve Christ now.
Here's the link: How to Crucify Self that suggests how you can change the direction of your life and become a laborer for God. If you decide to follow Him, you will indeed be a member of the First Fruits Harvest. If you know that your life up to this point has not been dedicated to Jesus, you can change directions and start living your life for Him right now.