Close

 

Saved From the Wrath of God

(part 1)

Romans 5:9

 

Romans 5:9, “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”  “Turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 5, as we look at the results of God’s work of love.  Romans chapter 5, we see “That being justified by faith we have peace with God through out Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 1), “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…”  And verse 3 says we can rejoice in our tribulations and trials because we know that God’s producing something through them (cf. James 1:2-4).  And then he says, ‘We can rejoice in the hope of heaven, and we can rejoice because we are going to miss out on the wrath of God.  Verse 9 is what I want to look at today and our topic is “Saved From the Wrath of God”.  Look at chapter 5, verse 9.  Read it with me.  “Much more than, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him.”  I love this verse, and I’m excited about the verse this morning.  We’re going to be saved, gang, we shall be saved from the wrath of God because of his blood [think of the original Passover, when the wrath of God was taken out on all who didn’t have the blood across their doorposts in Egypt].  Well, what is the wrath of God?  It’s not hell, let me tell you right away.  It’s not hell.  It’s not the Lake of Fire.  That’s punishment, yes.  That’s what going to happen to those who are the recipients of the wrath of God [if they do not repent when their opportunity for salvation is given to them], but specifically that is not the wrath of God. Let’s see what the Scripture says the wrath of God is.  Daniel 12, verse 1 talks about this time of God’s wrath.  “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation until that time.”  So it’s called a time of trouble like they have never had before.  Jeremiah 30, verses 4 through 7 says it’s the time of Jacob’s trouble, specifically Israel, the nation of Israel, Jacob is involved in this.  “Now these are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah [Israel in context with his saying Judah could have referred to the 10 lost tribes, the northern kingdom or House of Israel by this prophet, whoever they might be], for thus says the Lord, ‘I’ve heard the sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace.  Ask now and see if a man can give birth…’”  Anybody see a guy give birth?  No.  “‘Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins as a woman in child-birth?  And why have all faces turned pale?’  Alas, for that day is great, there is none like it, and it is the time of Jacobs distress or trouble.  But he will be saved from it.’”  Israel’s going to go into this day of God’s wrath, a time of distress, a time of trouble, but God will save a portion of Israel out of it.  It’s called the Great Day of the Lord Zephaniah 1, verses 14 through 18.  “Near is the great day of the Lord, near and coming very quickly.  Listen, the day of the Lord, in it the warrior cries out bitterly, and a day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and high towers.  And I will bring distress on men so that they will walk like the blind.  And because they have sinned against the Lord, and their blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung.  Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in that day of the Lord’s wrath.  And all the earth will be devoured in the fire of his jealousy, for he will make a complete end, even a terrifying one of all the inhabitants of the earth.”  It sounds like Zephaniah is recording what would happen if God allowed nations to attack each other with nuclear warheads.  People would be blind walking around, some their blood is poured out like dust, that speaks of dehydration, just like a nuclear blast can evaporate, vaporize you.  1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 2 says “For you yourselves know full well that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”  This is called “the wrath of the Lamb” in Revelation 6:16-17, “and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘fall on us and hide us from the presence of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.’  For the great day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand?”  Revelation 14:10 says, “He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is mixed in full strength and the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb.”  That’s what’s going to happen to the anti-christ.  And so that you really understand the summation of the wrath of God, the entire whole big ball of his wrath is going to be tossed out during the great tribulation.  No doubt about it, Revelation 15:1, “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels, who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.”  And Revelation 16:1, “I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth.”  This wrath that we have been saved from, in Romans 5:9 is not hell-fire, it is the wrath of God during the great tribulation, we have been saved from it, praise the name of the Lord.

Who will go through it?  Well, I’ll just give you a quick survey.  Romans 1:18, since you’re there, go to chapter 1, verses 18, this sort of summarizes it all, who’s going to go through the wrath of God.  “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”  In

Ephesians 2:3 it says “We were by nature children of wrath…”, so in other words, if you’re not born-again by the power of God, you have an old nature that is a nature that is going to be the recipient of the wrath of God in the end times.  [We have to understand that when Paul wrote this he and all the other apostles sincerely believed the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ was imminent and going to be in their lifetimes.  The statement about the wrath of God does apply to those who will live in the end times going right into the tribulation (World War III) and the events leading up to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  But understand, from the time Paul wrote this to now, almost the entire Church Age has gone by without this wrath of God being applied to mankind.  This wrath of God, in proper context with the entire Church Age, is but a short span of time which those living in the world at that time will go through.  We are in the time period of the end times, as evidenced by our ability blast all life from off the planet, but no one knows when World War III or the 2nd coming will occur within the context of our times.  It may be a generation away.  Who knows?  Jesus said that no man would know the day or hour of his coming, no, not even the angels.  But rest assured, we are closer to those events than was Paul when he penned this verse.]  Ephesians chapter 5, let’s look at who the wrath of God is poured out on.  Ephesians chapter 5, verse 5, “For this you know with certainty that no immoral or impure person or covetous man who is an idolater has an inheritance in the kingdom of God and of Christ.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience, therefore don’t be partakers with them, for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  So walk as children of light.”  Colossians 3:6 says, “Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”  We’re told in Revelation 11 that the wrath of God is going to be poured out upon those who destroy the earth.  Ecology is an important subject.  Earth is not my mother, you know.  I’m not into this planet worship business, goddess worship.  But it is important as Christians that we take care of the earth, because the earth is “who’s?”—the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.  This is, as the hymn writer said, my father’s world.  So it matters to me what happens to the earth and all that the Lord created.  But the purpose of this great tribulation is to destroy the systems that are anti-God and anti-Christ.  [Actually, he’s a little off.  The great tribulation is World War III, brought on by Satan’s evil unseen influence on evil men (i.e. just like he did with Adolph Hitler).  The Day of the Lord, comprised of the Seven Trumpet plagues and Seven Last Plagues, is to destroy “those who destroy the earth”, man’s evil anti-God, anti-christ systems of government.]  And to pour out the wrath of God upon a sin-loving and Christ-rejecting world.  The purpose of the tribulation is to test Israel and bring her back to God and to her Messiah [he’s talking about the Jews and Israelis], to purge the nation, as Daniel 11:35 and Zechariah 13:8-9 state.

Well, who will not go through the great tribulation?  Probably I’m more interested in who’s going to miss out on this time then on who’s going to go through it.  That’s my selfish nature.  Who won’t go through the tribulation?  Those who have been justified by the blood of Jesus Christ, going back to Romans 5 verse 9.  Let’s read it one more time.  We’ve defined now what the wrath of God is clearly through the Scripture.  The day of wrath, the great and terrible day of the Lord, the Seven Last Plagues when the wrath of God is poured out in full, that is The Day of the Lord [which he calls the great tribulation, his terms are a bit off, as I said before], the wrath of God that we are missing out on.  The wrath of God that we will escape is the time period made up of the great tribulation and Day of the Lord.  Romans 5:9, “Much more than having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him.”  True believers who have a personal faith in Christ will not go through this period of the wrath of God.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/faith/whatis.htm .]  It’s interesting, that in Luke 21:36, just note it.  In Luke 21:36 when Jesus is telling his disciples all the terror that will come upon the world during that time, then he has a little aside.  He says, “But keep on the alert at all times, praying, in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  In other words, Jesus said ‘You can escape these things.’  [the type of being alert, watchful is not daily pouring over current events and prophecy to try to figure out when it’s all coming down, but instead to be alert spiritually, awake spiritually, filled with the Holy Spirit, being led by Him (Romans 8:9-16).  And instead of being standing in the tribulation, you could stand before the Throne.  You don’t have to go through the great tribulation.  Revelation 3:10, which we’ll look at more next week, says, “Because you have kept”—speaking of the last-day faithful church—“the word of my perseverance, I will also keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world to test those who dwell upon the earth.”  People ask me often times, ‘Mark, am I ready for Jesus to come?’  Well, you’re the one who’s got the answer to that.  Growing up, I used to dread this 2nd coming of Christ, and that was what our church was all about.   I mean, his 2nd Advent was even in the name of our church it was such a big deal—an Adventist—you know.  And yet, I wasn’t ready for Jesus to come.  And they used to have these evangelists come in, and they always would have a lady with a low voice sing, and she would always sing this song.  I think they called her a contralto…And she would sing “Are you ready for Jesus to come, are you faithful in all that you do, have you stood for the right, have you fought a good fight, can others see Jesus in yooou?”  I’m going No! No! No! No!  I’m not ready for Jesus to come!  I’m not faithful in all that I do, I didn’t stand for the right yesterday, I caved in!  Others can’t see Jesus in me most of the time!  No, I’m not ready!  Are you ready for Jesus to come?  You know what makes you ready is not what you do, it’s who you know.  Not what you’re doing, but it’s who you’re knowing, and the one you know, he’ll change your life anyway.  I can stand here now and say, “I’m ready for Jesus to come.  I’m ready if the Lord were to come right now, I’m ready!”  And I’m even wanting Jesus to come.  You know, trouble weans us from this world.  You get a little more trouble in your life, you get a little more longing for heaven.  Yet get a lot more trouble in your life, you get a lot more longing for heaven.  Don’t you?  And so I’m longing for heaven, I’m wanting it.  If there were two buttons here, “stay here”, “go be with the Lord”, I would be hard pressed.  Oh it would be nice to stay here, do a little bit more for the Lord, but man, I’m afraid I’d go for the green button.  (If it’s a green button, whatever color it is, I’d push it.)  Jesus makes you ready, Jesus makes you ready for heaven.  Remember, there’s a difference between the wrath of the world coming against the church and the wrath of God coming against the world.  The great tribulation does not originate from Satan. [He’s got his terminology mixed up a bit here.  The great tribulation, World War III, does originate from Satan.  The Day of the Lord, the wrath of God, originates from God.]  It’s not something Satan conjures up, the angels of God pouring out seven bowls of plagues on the earth in which the wrath of God is finished.  This is not some demon doing a bad thing, this is something God’s in control of, the wrath of God comes right from God’s hand and is poured out upon the world.  Whereas, the trouble I experience as a Christian does not come from God [but is allowed by God to purify us], but comes from the evil one and from this world’s system.  Jesus said, John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace, and in the world you’re going to have tribulation.  But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  True believers are going to face tribulation, but not the Great Tribulation [i.e. the Wrath of God, the Day of the Lord].  We’re going to face trouble from the devil’s hand, and from the world’s hand, and from our own flesh.  But we’re never going to face, never face, the time of the wrath of God.  When his wrath is poured out in full strength upon the world, we’re not going to be here gang.  You say, “How do you know, Mark?  How do you know?”  Well, because I believe the Bible very clearly teaches a pre-tribulation rapture of the church.  [Calvary Chapel teaches a pre-tribulation rapture.  Other pre-millennial denominations believe in and teach we go to a place of safety before the pre-tribulation—both set of beliefs are pre-tribulation.  As of this point in time, it’s really unclear which is true, and the teaching one way or the other is so fuzzy, and also 2ndary to the gospel of salvation that it’s just not all that important.  It is important to realize, both interpretations are based on solid Scripture that promise protection from the day of God’s wrath for believers that are still alive.  I speculate—tongue in cheek—that God may “rapture” all of us to a “place of safety”.  Some Messianic Jews also believe in the “place of safety” interpretation.  This website does not take a stand one way or the other on this issue or teaching, as it proves to be divisive among different parts of the body of Christ, not a point of unity.]  “Pre” means before,  before the tribulation.  Pre-tribulation, and rapture, that’s just another word for being “caught up to be with the Lord.”  And I’ll tell you how we got that word Rapture in a second.  But I want you to see where it is in the Bible.  1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.  All the T’s are together in the New Testament, and it just happens that the 1st and 2nd Thessalonians are the first of the T’s—Bible hint for the day.  1st Thessalonians 4, verse 13.  He’s writing to comfort Christians who have lost people due to the tribulation of this world, not the Great Tribulation [i.e. the Day of the Lord], the world’s trouble coming at them.  Not God trouble in the world, but the world trouble in them.  And indirectly, as he’s trying to comfort these baby Christians that he only got to spend a few weeks with before he was run away from them, he’s reminding them of some specific truths.  “Now, we don’t want you to be uninformed”, verse 13, “brethren, about those who are asleep.”  When Christians die, you don’t have to worry about them, a tragedy has not occurred, it is no more dangerous than death.”  When I go in and watch my girls sleep at night, and I tuck them in at night and I just make sure they’re there—one of them likes to sleep with one leg up in the air, she always has a leg on the wall, always, sleeping with one leg up, in those little cutesy pajama’s, you know, with feet in them, it’s so sweet.  The other one sleeps on her stomach, and her hands are up above her like this.  And when I go in, I don’t start weeping, ‘Oh, it’s all over, it’s all over!’ What’s the matter?  ‘They’re asleep.’  ‘Shh, or you’re going to wake them up!’  Right?  Sometimes I have you come over when you’re at my house and the girls are asleep, and I say “you want to see something precious?  Come here.”  I mean, I’ve done that to some of you, haven’t I?  ‘Look at them, aren’t they sweet?’  The one time of day when they’re so sweet.  [laughter]  But they’re going to wake up.  Early.  [more laughter]  Before you’re ready.  They wake up, praise the Lord, they wake up.  And so sleep is always what is spoken of as, when a believer dies, it’s always spoken of as “sleep.”  Because our body goes to sleep.  It looks like sleep, and it’s no more harmful than sleep.  You’re spirit [i.e. the “spirit in man”, cf. 1 Cor 2; Romans 8] goes to heaven.  How do we know?  Because in heaven, there is a vision of the souls of people who were saved during the tribulation, and they’ve gone to heaven, and they are there, and they’re crying out to God saying ‘Lord, how long until, holy and just, until you avenge our blood.’  And the Lord says, ‘Hang on, here’s a robe, put this on, hang on until, just a little while longer until all your fellow servants, the martyrs, are brought up here, and then it will end.’  ‘Then I’ll avenge your blood.’ (Revelation 6:9-11)  But the soul is conscious, active, crying out to God, can even wear a robe.  Which is important, in a minute.  [Other denominations interpret this a being a metaphor, while they interpret Solomon in Ecclesiastes literally that the soul is unconscious “i.e. soul sleep”.  Also in Ecclesiastes, it says that all spirit’s of those who die go to God in heaven—the good and the bad—while the spirit’s in animals go into the ground.  These groups interpret that God then at the time of the resurrection to immorality at the last trumpet blast in Revelation (cf. 1 Cor. 15) takes the human spirit’s of the righteous dead and uses them to resurrect them just as they were, but with heavenly immortal bodies.  The unrighteous dead are resurrected from the preserved pattern of their past bodies back to physical life—God using their human spirits to re-create their bodies and minds just as they were (cf. Revelation 20:5).  So you see, there are two ways to interpret these passages, and since these apparently conflicting passages are really in the Bible, the actual truth is not all that evident, making this a very secondary doctrine—whichever way you choose to believe.  Revelation 3:10 does promise “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  Now that one you can take to the bank.  So regardless of which interpretation you or your denomination believes, rest assured, we are all promised a pre-tribulation protection of some sort.  When Scripture passages on a particular subject appear to conflict, it merely means that the subject is extremely secondary in God’s eyes, and he wants us to find out later, and not invest a whole lot of effort in teaching about it.  I am merely pointing this out because some of you come from fellowships that believe in literal “soul sleep” while others of you come from the “we’re all awake at God’s heavenly throne” group.  I’m merely pointing out that it’s OK to believe either way, as the Bible hasn’t really nailed this one down, it’s in one of those gray-zones as far as interpretation goes.  Rest assured, we’ll find out later.  This site can’t take sides on such issues without becoming divisive.]  “We don’t want you to be uninformed brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as do the rest who have no hope, for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again”—do you believe that  Jesus died and rose again?  And then what did he do?  He went to the right hand of God.  Right?—“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”  All of those who have fallen asleep with Jesus are going to come back with the Lord at the 2nd coming.  “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep" (the lucky bums) “for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”  ‘Oh, oh, oh, the dead were dead, see they were raised.’  No, their bodies were raised, their spirits, their souls were in heaven, their spirits and souls were in heaven.  They were spirits and souls without bodies.  Paul calls that being naked in 2 Corinthians 5 [vs. 1-9], and it’s uncomfortable, that’s why the Lord gives ‘em a white robe to wear in Revelation, because they’re walking around, like, ‘Hey, this is embarrassing.’  The Lord gives them a robe to wear.  But when they come, they meet their bodies in the air, their bodies are raised, ‘What was planted in corruption was raise incorruptible, planted in mortality, raised in immortality, and they meet their new body in the air, they slip into it like you dive into a glove—oh it feels so good!’  There’s no limitations to this new body, the Bible tells us it will be a body like the Lord’s, no pains, no misery, hallelujah.  Then, when they get their new bodies, and this is going to happen in the twinkling of an eye we’re told, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up—underline that word—caught up—in the Latin translation that word ‘caught up’ is the word rapere, which is translated “rapture”.  People say ‘The word “rapture” is not even in the Bible.’  Well, it is too, the Latin Bible.  I mean, it is in the Bible, the Latin translation instead of the Greek.  “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up”—raptured—“together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words.”  The term Rapture came from the Latin translation of the word “caught up.”  Why?  I don’t know.  I’d rather call it the “caught up” Church, you know.  Rapture sounds sound’s weird to me.  But the word in Latin for Rapture means ecstasy, you know, and I guess that describes what its going to be like.  Nobody’s going to be in the Rapture going “Oh, how dull, boring”, you know.  “This is a drag, man.”  I mean, all of you, even those of you who sit so stoically at church, and I try to make you laugh and can’t, even you will be going “Wow!!!  This is crazy, I’m just like Mark!”  This is the clear teaching of God’s Word, the Rapture comes before the tribulation, I don’t care who wrote a book on it.  I don’t care what the new book is, or the latest teaching or what the stupid television channel says.  Before the Lord returns [i.e. the 2nd coming], he’s going to come for his church, take us up before the seven year tribulation, then we come back with him in glory, that’s what the Bible teaches, and it’s pictured in the Old Testament and it’s promised in the New. 

Let’s look at the Old Testament pictures.  Genesis 5, verses 21 through 24 show us a picture of Enoch.  Enoch was a preacher of righteousness according to Jude.  Jude tells us in verses 14 and 15 that ‘Enoch was a preacher of righteousness.’  Enoch walked with God.  A lot of us get the idea that, ‘Ole Enoch, all he did all day long was walk with God, you know.’  Who’s this?—Bible charades.  That’s Enoch, walking with God.  You got him wrong, man.  Put him behind a pulpit, put him out in the street, put him in front of a bar, put him someplace preaching righteousness.  That’s Enoch.  Jude 14 and 15, see, Enoch knew judgment was coming, he knew the wrath of God was coming upon the world.  He knew that a flood of destruction was coming, he was living right before the flood, when God covered the whole earth with water for forty days and forty nights, and it really happened.  You got the drain of the flood right back here, the Grand Canyon, it was the drain-plug, you know.  It happened.  And he preached and he warned people.  And yet he kept walking with God though the world around him was into sex, it was into drugs, and demonism, and we know these things from a close study and a careful study of the Scriptures, we know it was a bad day to live.  [And Jesus said the end-times would be like the Days of Noah, a similar time, similar circumstances.]  The wickedness of man was so great that God was sorry he created man.  He said ‘I’m going to utterly blot man off the face of the earth.  And he would have done it had Noah not found favor in his sight.  And you know how Noah went through that “wrath” in the ark.  But before the wrath came, Enoch was caught up to be with the Lord.  Look, Genesis 5:21, “And Enoch lived sixty years, and became the father of Methuselah.  And Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and after he became the father of Methuselah and had other sons and daughters, so all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years, and Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”  I love it.  All of a sudden, Enoch and the Lord on one of their jaunts walking together.  The Lord said, ‘You know, Enoch, it’s a little farther to your place than to mine right now.  Come up.  Enoch was raptured.  He was caught up to be with the Lord.  ‘Oh, what about Noah?  What about Noah?  He went through the tribulation, he went through the tribulation.’  Yeah, but Enoch’s the picture of the Church, the Church that walks with God.  There are people that will go through the tribulation, yes.  They call them tribulation saints.  But it’s not the Church.  It’s a whole different group of people saved under the ministry of 144,000 Jewish evangelists, a ministry of two witnesses that preach the gospel.  And the ministry of three angels that fly through the heaven and preach the gospel.  There will be people saved during the tribulation, trouble is, they all get martyred, except for a few Jews that hide, God keeps them hidden, like Noah was hidden in the ark. [this is a remnant of the teaching about “a place of safety” for the Church that is recognized by those who believe in the Rapture of the Church as opposed to the Church going to “a place of safety.”]  But praise God, the Church, there’s a Rapture before the wrath, I love it!  Don’t you? 

And there’s another picture.  The picture of Lot.  Remember the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had sinned to such an extent, they were so gross that God said they had to be exterminated.  And before God could pour out his judgment on those cities he first had to remove Lot and his family.  There’s a principle there.  And Abraham stated the principle.  Abraham stated it so well in Genesis chapter 18 in verses 23 and 25, he said to the Lord, ‘Lord, Lord, won’t you save the cities if there are this many righteous?’  ‘Yeah, I’d save it if there were this many righteous, but there aren’t.’  ‘Well, how about this many?’ and he kept counting down, counting down, ‘if there’s just a handful of righteous?’   The Lord said ‘I’d save them if there were just a handful of righteous, but there are not.’  Well then he says, ‘Well, you’re not going to destroy the city, you’re not going to let your wrath fall on Lot are you?’  “And Abraham came near and said” Genesis 18:23 and I’m just reading pieces of 23 and 25, “Abraham came near and said, ‘Would you also destroy the righteous with the wicked?  Far be it from you to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, far be it from you.  Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?’”  You see, that’s the principle, gang.  The principle we see typified in Enoch and in Lot is that God first has to remove the objects of his love and grace from the sphere of where his wrath is going to fall.  The angel was sent by the Lord to destroy the city, but the angel said to Lot ‘I can do nothing until you get out of here!’  And the angel had to say to Lot in Genesis 19:22, ‘Hurry, escape there’, the angel said, ‘For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.’  You see, until Lot was pulled out and arrived safely to the destination, the wrath couldn’t fall.  [And whether you believe in the pre-tribulation “Rapture” or pre-tribulation “going to a place of safety” this Biblical principle holds true.  You see, I think those who believe in the Rapture are terrified to think the Rapture may not occur, not knowing that if it isn’t a Rapture by which we’re saved out of the tribulation, it will definitely be by another means, i.e. a “departure” to “the place of safety.”  It’s definitely one or the other folks, it’s just the Bible is a little fuzzy as to which.  Any guesses as to why?  Usually when a subject is left a bit fuzzy like that it’s because the Lord doesn’t want us to overly focus on it, going all dogmatic and crazy on the subject.  There are other things the Lord wants us going crazy over right now, and it’s not how we’re going to have our butts saved physically from WWIII.  But this is a very interesting subject, told from the Rapture point of view.  It may happen this way and it may not.  Personally, I have no idea at this point which Biblical scenario is correct, and this site doesn’t take sides, just tries to present both scenarios as objectively as possible and let the reader decide.  Rest assured, those who are righteous in God’s eyes and live on into this time will find out which scenario is true.  Until then, doing the Lord’s will is far more important than focussing overly on this stuff.]  And as long as the Church is on the earth you don’t have to worry about us being in the great tribulation.  Oh, the war, the Middle Eastern War, the Persian Gulf War—people were saying ‘Oh we’ve entered into the tribulation!’  Oh baloni, what are you doing here if we’ve entered into the tribulation?  You’re not going to be here for the tribulation!  [true, whichever scenario is true.]  Or, ‘aren’t we going to go halfway through it, like Rosenthal says?  No, you’re not going to go through any of it.  We have been saved from the wrath of God through him, through Jesus Christ. 

          Now, the first New Testament promise about this, we’ve seen two Old Testament pictures, we’ve got time to take a peek at the New Testament promise in 2 Thessalonians 2.  2 Thessalonians 2, Paul writes the letter to the church of the Thessalonicons because, again, he hasn’t had been able to spend hardly any time with them to nurture them in the faith.  But the little few weeks he had with them, he poured a lot into them.  He taught them especially about last-day events.  Now he’s been separated from them since ‘super-spiritual people’ came in, and said ‘we have a revelation from God that Paul has approved, and it is this, we’re in the Day of the Lord.’  Well they knew, just like you do now, that the Day of the Lord meant the day of the tribulation [correction, day of God’s wrath—the great tribulation is World War III, and is brought on man by Satan.  God’s wrath comes to end the tribulation, where God starts to make war on those that are making war and destroying the earth.  Just a mix-up in terms, that’s all.]  ‘Oh no, oh no, Paul has told us that we wouldn’t go through the Day of the Lord.  We’re in it?  Oh no, I missed the Rapture!’  You know, have you ever had that feeling?  Like you were supposed to show up at church for a meeting, you didn’t know you got the day wrong, and no one showed up, and you think ‘Mark’s not here, the elders aren’t here…maybe the Rapture occurred and I didn’t go.’  That ever happen to you?  Happened to me the other day, I thought I’d missed the Rapture.  “Now we request you brethren”, chapter 2 verse 1, “with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him”—don’t you just love that, ‘Our gathering together to him’—“that  you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter from us to the effect that the Day of the Lord has come.”  In other words, they were really shaken up, man, someone said ‘the Day of the Lord has come!’  ‘What?!  We’re in the tribulation now?  They were being persecuted too, by the way.  Someone said ‘This is the great tribulation.’  And they’re saying, ‘What are we going through the wrath of God for, I thought we were his precious Bride?’  “Let no one” verse 3, “in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed and the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes the seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.  Don’t you remember I was telling you these things?”  I want you to see two things.  Number 1, this is tricky, in the Greek.  He says, “Don’t let anyone deceive you because it won’t come unless the apostasy comes first.”  Now the most common translation of the word “apostasy” is “a defection” or “revolt” or “a falling away.”  But there is another real meaning of apostasy, and it can literally be translated “the disappearance” or “a departure.”  You can right that in the margin of your Bible safely.  He’s saying, ‘let no one deceive you in any way for it will not come unless the ‘disappearance’ or the ‘departure’ comes first.’  Well you could read that two ways, either the disappearance of true faith from the earth, that’ll happen when we leave—right?—a departure from truth, yes—or it could mean the departure of the Church—the Church leaves.  We’re outa here…And so he says ‘Don’t you remember while I was with you, I was telling you these things?’  What things?  Well, look at 1st Thessalonians chapter 1, verse 8, “For the Word of the Lord is sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place.  And your faith toward God is gone forth so that we have no need to say anything, for they themselves report about what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  Does that sound like you’re going half-way through it [the tribulation and Day of the Lord]?  No!  [and I say the same “No!”—whether it’s a “place of safety” we go to or are “raptured” to, or whether we are “raptured” to God’s throne in the 3rd heavens—regardless, we are protected from the “wrath”.]  We’re going to be delivered from, and that word “from” can mean “out of.”  1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 9, “For God”  Oh we better all read this one too, this is cool, 5:9.  “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  [I have a word to add, go back to verses 4-8, putting this verse 9 in context with the whole passage.  Paul tells us living in these last days, as his letter is focussed on the last days, in verse 8 how we as believers in Jesus, Yeshua ought to be acting.  Sort of, if you want to be protected from wrath, pay attention to this “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.  We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”  Revelation 3 talks of two churches, which some interpret as church era’s or revivals, both occurring at the end times.  One is promised protection from God’s wrath, “the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.”  The other, the Laodician era or church, has no such promise of protection.  God wants us to don the breastplate of righteousness, of self-control, faith and love, all of which are the qualities or traits of the Holy Spirit.  But we must be led by the Holy Spirit, as Romans 8 says, not merely be indwelt by Him.  Galatians 5:22-23 give these same traits of God’s Holy Spirit.  Paul is saying here to those who hope to escape the tribulation of Satan and wrath of God, “put on self-control, faith and love, agape love, as a breastplate.  That’s in verses 4-8.  Verses 9-10 must be taken in context with verses 4-8.] 

          Now, 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2, that’s the stuff he had told them.  He said, ‘Look, you’ve not been destined for wrath, and Jesus delivers you from the wrath to come.’  And then he’s already written to the Romans and he tells the Romans ‘You’ve been saved from the wrath that is to come.’  You’re not going to experience the great tribulation, gang.  No way.  You’re going to leave, and actually, you have to leave before it can come [either way, rapture of place of safety, this is a Biblical truth].  Now, how do we know that?  It says, verse 5, “Don’t you remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?  And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed.”  And I always go, ‘What?  What restrains him?’  What restrains him?  Keep reading, “For the mystery of lawlessness is ready [already] at work, only he who now restrains will do so.”  Who?  Who is he who restrains?  “Until he is taken out of the way.”  Well, who’s restraining wickedness in the world right now?  The Holy Spirit through the Church—right?  The Holy Spirit through the Church…the Church is called light and salt.  Light restrains the darkness, salt restrains putrification and corruption [corruption: rotting].  And when you remove the light and the salt from this world, I tell you, it’s going to go to hell in a handcart.  I mean, it’s going to go bad fast.  It’s going to rot like a dead body on a hot day.  Get the picture?  That’s what’s going to happen.  Shall I go on?  [laughter]  It’s going to be gross.   But he that restrains…it’s the Holy Spirit in the Church, that when we’re caught up [or removed from the scene], we are that which restrains.  When we’re taken out, then the anti-christ can come.  Now, a word in conclusion.  What about those of you who say, ‘Well I believe, maybe, but I’m going to wait until I see it happen, because you know, I’ve got my life to live, I’ve got some things I want to do, I think Christianity might cramp my style, and I’m going to wait and see if these things happen.  If the anti-christ comes up and all these things happen, then I’ll believe.  Wrong.  The Bible says that if you’ve heard this message today, and don’t accept Christ, and we get raptured tomorrow, you can’t be saved.  [Now that’s not entirely true.  The Bible says that many will be saved during the tribulation.  These people are referred to as tribulation saints, as Mark pointed out earlier.  But it appears these people may be saved in and through martyrdom.  Also the Laodician era saints are saved through the tribulation and their direct martyrdom.  Read Revelation chapter 3:14-21.]  What?!  Listen, not my words.  You listen.  Verse 9,  After the Church is taken out of the way, verse 8, “And then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming.  That is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the”—what?—“love of the truth, so as to be saved.  For this reason God will give them”—those who don’t love the truth enough to be saved today—“God will give them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they may be judged, who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”  This is very solemn, this is very serious.  This is so important.  The NIV version of that is: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.  The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends [i.e. by allowing Satan to do his workHH

] them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”  Because, he’s saying, if you hear the Word today, and you reject it, and especially if you think you’re waiting for some day when these things begin to happen a little bit more, and the Church is gone—‘Oh, after the Rapture of the Church, then I’ll believe.’—No you won’t believe.  God will allow a strong deluding influence to come upon you, so that you’ll believe what is false, because you don’t love the truth today.  See, God’s looking for truth-lovers, wherever they are, whatever cult they might be in, whatever darkness they’re in.  God is looking for those who love the truth, and he’ll lead them into his light.  But if you don’t love the truth, you will believe a lie.  You will be lost.  Don’t put it off.  Don’t say, ‘Well, I’ll wait until I see.’  Because that’s too late.  ‘Well, let me think about it.’  No you don’t need to think about it much more than what you have today, because you might not have a tomorrow.  You see it’s easy for me to live a little tritely, because I know that if I die, I’m going to heaven, I know it.  Or if the Lord comes tomorrow—Hey!   Hallelujah!  I’m going!  I’m outa here!  But for those of you that aren’t ready for Jesus to return, I would live very carefully, I would buckle my seatbelt, I would be careful what I ate, I would look both ways before I crossed the street, I wouldn’t be out in thunderstorms, because I wouldn’t want to die in that state.  ‘Scare tactics Mark, is that what you’re trying to put on me?’  No.  It’s your life.  And if you don’t love it enough to think seriously about it, then you can lose it.  It’s your life.  But maybe some of us love you a little more than you love yourself.  And that we’re thinking about things that matter, where all you’re thinking about is the guy who’s looking at you, or what your friends are going to do after the service, or your casseroles in the oven.  Let it burn.  Better it burns than you burn.  It’s not scare tactics, it’s truth.  Sometimes the truth is scary.  But Jesus said the truth would set you free.  It’s not by coincidence or accident that you’ve come here today.  Some of you believers needed to know what’s going to happen, that you’re outa here.  And we’re going to teach you more next week on this point.  But others of you have come this very day because you really do have a love for the truth.  Are you ready for Jesus to come?  No.  But you can be ready by asking him to become your personal Savior today.  He crosses all racial barriers, all national barriers, he crosses all denominational barriers.  I could care less whether you’ve been baptized, confirmed, posted, I don’t care what’s happened to you.  I want to know whether you’ve been born-again by the Spirit of God.  And if you’ve been born-again by asking Jesus to come into your life—he says, ‘behold, I stand at the door and knock, and if anyone hears my voice, I will open the door, I will come into him and he with me, and I’ll be his friend for eternity’ is what he’s saying.  But you’ve got to open the door, you’ve got to ask him to save you.  How do you do that?  It’s through prayer.  Prayer is the way we talk to God.  You say, ‘Well I don’t know how to talk to God.’  That’s OK, we’ll talk to him together as a friend, you and I, in just a moment, we’ll pray a prayer asking God to save you, asking God to make you ready by making you a new creature and a Christian [or Messianic Jewish believer].  There are three universal needs in this world, one is the need to get rid of guilt.  Another is the need for something on the inside that’s real, because there’s so much loneliness in life.  And the third thing is, it happens when you die, there’s a universal need to know what happens when you die.  There’s a fear of dying.  Jesus, Yeshua meets every one of those needs.  He can take away your guilt, and forgive you of your sins.  ‘No, you don’t know how bad I am.’  Jesus does, and he says whoever will come to me, I will never cast away.  Prostitutes came to him, rotten corrupt businessmen came to him.  He forgave them all of their sins.  A murderer on the cross next to him, he forgave him of his sin and gave him eternal life.  You can have the emptiness filled with Jesus’ life, and you can know that if you were to die, you’d go to heaven, or if Jesus were to come tonight, you’d leave with all of us.  If you want to be ready, then I want you to bow your heads right now, all of us, please, pray for those around you.  Ask God’s Spirit to move out…If you want what Jesus, Yeshua is offering I want you to pray this prayer with me right now.  “Lord Jesus, please come into my life.  I know that I’m a sinner.  I know I’ve done wrong things.  And I know I am not ready for you to come back.  But I believe you died for me.  And I believe that you rose from the dead for me.  And I believe you can change my life.  Please accept me just as I am, weak, helpless.  Make me a Christian [or Messianic believer].  Fill my emptiness with you.  Take away my sin, please.  And now give me the assurance that because I believe in you, and trust you with my whole heart and life, that I am ready now when you come again.  In Jesus name [in the name of Yeshua haMeshiach], Amen…” 

          If you’ll keep your heads bowed please and pray for those around you.  I just want to talk to you.  If you asked the Lord to come into your life, I want you to know that that decision is going to be tested very soon in the future, it might be before you get out the door, somebody will make fun of you.  Maybe you came with someone and they’re not into the Lord.  But you came, and man, God’s spoken to your heart.  I want to pray for you that your faith will stay strong in Christ [Messiah].  Jesus, Yeshua said that if you’ll confess me before men, I’ll confess you before my Father in heaven, but if you’re ashamed of me here, I’ll be ashamed of you there.  I’m going to pray that your courage in Christ will be strong now.  Maybe you feel the peace of Christ descending already in your life.  There have been hundreds of people this year that have experienced what you’ve just experienced.  It’s real!  It’s real!  And I want to pray for you now, that your faith will stay strong in Jesus.  I want to pray a blessing on you specifically.  So everybody’s eyes are closed, just between you and me and the Lord, I’m going to ask you to do something really tough.  I’m not going to ask you to stand up, I’m not going to ask you to come forward, but wherever you are in this auditorium, if you prayed that prayer and you wanted Jesus, Yeshua to save you, raise your hand right now…ok you can put your hands down.  Let’s pray.  ‘Lord we just thank you so much for the power of your Word that changes lives, for the power of your Spirit and of your peoples prayers, to cause miracles like we’ve seen today.  Thank you Lord, that we as a team, could share the gospel.  Now we pray, Lord, together, that these brothers and sisters who have accepted you as their Savior, that their faith will be strong, that they won’t waiver.  And even though it’s tested, that they’ll stand up for Jesus, no matter what the cost.  In Jesus name’—and everybody said—‘Amen.’”  [This is a transcript of a sermon given by Pastor J. Mark Martin, Calvary Community Church, P.O. Box 39607, Phoenix, Arizona  85069]

 

end part 1 Romans 5:9

Close