Evangelist & Web Minister
Lamb & Lion Ministries
In reading the Bible, we realize that the Apostle Paul was a big sports fan. He used sports analogies all of the time while he was preaching. I'm sure that if we could be there during Paul's time we would find him out and about in a toga at the Olympics or some sporting event like that.
In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul explained that sports competitors go into strict training. He said, "They beat their bodies." Literally, they condition their bodies so as to be able to do their sport because they want to be the best. They want to win the prize. And, the prize at the time was usually just a crown of leaves on their head and about 15 minutes of fame. Paul also pointed out that the crowns of the victors would not last long, being only leaves, and eventually the victors would be forgotten. Really, just how many people remember the football stats of the past year, or the year before that? We easily forget these things.
Concerning sports, I have enjoyed learning martial arts. I have enjoyed what our instructors have done in that they've put us into strict training. Usually my body after each practice feels really quite beaten. But, no matter how much I train and get better and hopefully master the technique, I know that one day everything that I have learned will be subject to my body which is going to age. Eventually, the skill set that I have learned I won't be able to use much any longer, and I will be too feeble to use it.
I am also going to die. You're also going to die. Every single person is destined for death. After all, what are the two inevitabilities in life? They are one death, and two taxes (especially under this administration). Yes, death and taxes, they are very true. But, is that totally true? I mean, we know taxes for sure (unless you're GE), but is death truly inevitable for everybody throughout human history?
Would you believe that the Bible teaches that for one specific generation death will not befall them? As we go on, we'll look at what the Bible has to say about that generation and their escape from the hand of death.
The Greatest Promise
The greatest promise penned in the Bible which is most talked about is the one Jesus made in John 14:3, "I will come back and take you to be with me." Don't miss this! Let me repeat that again, "I will come back, and take you to be with me." Now, that is amazing! Jesus already came as a man once and truly it has been 2,000 years since, but that promise still stands.
Concerning the Second Coming of Jesus, it is the most talked about thing in the Bible. In the Old Testament, there are about 500 prophecies concerning Jesus coming back again. And, 1 in every 25 verses in the New Testament talks about Jesus's return. We can find references to that return in Zechariah 14, and Matthew 24, and many other chapters.
Think about this, there are 300 general prophecies about Jesus coming the first time, and 109 of them are specific. Every single one of those prophecies happened. Jesus' birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection fulfilled all 109 prophecies. The stats on that are astronomical! Mathematicians have sat down and proven that just eight being fulfilled in the life of one man would be statistically and practically impossible. And yet, Jesus fulfilled not just eight but all 109. So, if all 300 prophecies in the Old Testament were 100% fulfilled, what are the chances that the 500 Second Coming prophecies will be fulfilled? I would say — 100%.
The Time of Christ's Return
Let's try to figure out when Christ's return happens.
Interestingly enough, the return of Jesus coincides with what will be the worst time period in human history. That awful time has a few names: the Tribulation, the time of Jacob's trouble, and Daniel's 70th week. Those are just a few of the names. No matter the title, Jeremiah 30:7 explains just how horrible that time period will be. "How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it." Jacob is another name for the country of Israel.
While we know there is a time coming which will be the worst in human history, we also know it hasn't happened yet. Daniel 9:27 tells us when this time will begin. It begins when the new world leader who the Bible calls "Antichrist" makes a a peace covenant with the country of Israel which will last for seven years. We can find the Antichrist's dealings with Israel not only recorded in Daniel 9, but also in Revelation chapters 11-13 as well.
Purpose for the Tribulation
God has three purposes for the Tribulation. Firstly, God will pour out His wrath onto the earth because of the massive amounts of evil in the world. This has happened once before in an event called the Flood. Humanity got so evil that God had to eventually deal with them. He could not let all of humanity become so spoiled and evil that His plans for man's redemption were thwarted. So, God poured out His wrath on the earth in Noah's time, and God said a pouring out of wrath will yet again happen once society becomes so corrupt that He has to come back and deal with the evil plaguing the earth.
Secondly, God plans to regather the Jews back into their promised land and create harsh conditions that will force them to acknowledge Jesus as the one and only Messiah. That acknowledgement is not just for Israel, but overflows out and over everybody on the planet as well. All will finally recognize that there is a God and Jesus is the Messiah when He returns, as judgments will continue to get worse and worse as the Tribulation continues. Have you ever gotten to a point in your life when it gets so bad that you cry out to God for help? That exactly is what this time will be for. The Tribulation will force people to get serious about God and especially His Son Jesus Christ. Many will accept God and Jesus, yet most to their eternal shame will not.
Thirdly, the Tribulation is for the Messiah Jesus Christ to triumphantly return to fight His enemies, have His glorious victory, and to set up His Millennial Kingdom on Earth. The ultimate destination at the end of the Tribulation is Jesus' Second Coming.
Exempt From God's Wrath
That coming terrible time of trouble — the Tribulation — would be made even more awful and hopeless if the Church Age Saints had to live through it. Believers in Christ today would have to wonder, "Why would God pour out His wrath on the people He loves, the people He calls His children?"
The answer to this perplexing question is — "That just isn't the case!" I will now show you in the Bible that God by the Holy Spirit says over and over and over again that those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior will not have to endure living in the Tribulation.
Let's first look at Ephesians 5:6 which reads, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient." Who does this verse say God's wrath is for? It is only for as it says, "those who are disobedient." And, who are those who are disobedient? You can find the answer in John 3:36. It says, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him" The answer — God's wrath remains on those who have continued to reject Jesus' and His lifeline of salvation.
Next, look at Romans 5:9. It confirms that believers in Christ will be saved from God's wrath. It reads, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!"
Or, how about this verse? In 1 Thessalonians 5:9 it states, "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
These are awesome promises, and they keep going. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we are told, "...and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." Jesus is the one who is supposed to rescue us from that wrath.
Colossians 3:4 promises us that, "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." It is Jesus Christ who takes us. And, why does He appear? It is to bring us with Him to glory.
One of the best verses that promises that believers in Christ will be saved from the TRibulation, the best definition of this promise I would say, is Revelation 3:10. This amazing verse reads, "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth." I will keep you from that hour of trial, God says.
Again and again and again in these verses, Jesus promises that those who believe in Him and have called on Him to forgive them of their sins and be their Savior will not experience God's wrath — God's wrath from the Flood, God's wrath from the Tribulation, and God's wrath from eternal damnation. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ will not experience that wrath — ever!
Further Evidence of Exemption From God's Wrath
We can look at examples of that rescuing salvation from God's wrath in the Bible. God has demonstrated that He has done this very thing in the past.
Let's look at Enoch for example. Enoch was a man who lived before Noah. The author of Hebrews said, "By faith Enoch was taken up from this life so he did not experience death. He could not be found because God had taken him away for before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God." He was not disobedient. Instead, he was righteous. Enoch, because of the long lifespans people had at the time, lived just up to the time period right before the Flood. God took him from the earth before the wrath of God through the Flood happened.
Look at Noah. Noah and his family were the only righteous people on the entire planet! And so, God removed them out of the deluge that destroyed the Earth while He reformed the landscape by water, and kept them safely outside of it.
Later, when the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and two others became so horribly evil and so wickedly detestable, God had Lot and his daughters and wife removed from the cities' destruction before it happened. God takes people away before He barrages His wrath down upon anything.
Let's look at Rahab. When Joshua was surrounding Jericho and the walls came tumbling down, Rahab was saved from the miraculous destruction of Jericho. To top it off, her house was on the walls. If all the walls fell down, it could be that only a little sliver was left standing, which was her house, and that it was the only part that stayed up. Or, maybe her house fell down unscathed. We don't know. But, we do know that God saved Rahab and her family just as He promised.
The history recorded in the Bible demonstrates God's never changing nature to rescue His children from His fierce and awful wrath.