The Mid-Week Rapture #11
by Karl Kemp 10/16/2011 / Bible Studies
Holy Father, we want to rightly divide your Word; we want to understand your Word; we want to live in line with your Word. We thank you for full salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to be fully ready for His coming, by your sufficient grace. We pray in His mighty name. Amen.
We are in the middle of a verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapters 11-13, which are some of the most important chapters in the Bible dealing with end-time prophecy. We are now ready to discuss Rev. 12:10, which is a very important summarizing verse. I'll read the verse from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition. "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.' " These words are rather fully explained by the preceding verses. These things will all come to pass at the time the Lord Jesus Christ returns, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.
It will be obvious that "the salvation" of Christians will have fully come at the time pictured in Rev. 12:10. For one thing, we will have just been resurrected/glorified and caught up to the throne of God the Father, and we will have begun to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in a never-ending reign. Doesn't the New Testament teach that we have salvation now? It does, but it also speaks quite often of our salvation being yet future. It is clear that we will not inherit several key aspects of our salvation until the end of this age.
In endnote 15 (on page 307 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," I list many verses that speak of our salvation in a yet future sense. I'll give a few examples: Rom. 8:24, 25, "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." And Rom. 8:11, "Do this knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed." And Heb. 1:14, "Are they [the angels of God] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?" And, lastly, I'll read 1 Pet. 1:4, 5, "to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." I also listed many verses in this endnote to show that it is scriptural to say that Christians have been saved and they are being saved.
"Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come" (Rev. 12:10). Regarding "the power" (Greek dunamis) having then come, Rev. 11:17 says, "We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken your great power and have begun to reign." The words of 12:10 that speak of "the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ" having then come correspond with the words of Rev. 11:15 and 17: I'll read Rev. 11:15; then I'll read 11:17 again, "The seventh angel sounded [he sounded the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.' " And 11:17, "saying, 'We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign." The authority of God's Christ will have come (in the full sense that these words are used in Rev. 12:10) when God the Father sends the Lord Jesus Christ to begin to reign. In Matt. 28:18, after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ said that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him, but He is waiting for the Father's time for Him to return and begin to reign on the earth.
It is important to know that God has given us the authority to be, and to do, all that He requires of us for this age. And it is clear that He limits what the devil is permitted to do against us. For one thing, God will not let us be tempted beyond what we are able to handle by His grace (see 1 Cor. 10:13). It is also clear that the Lord Jesus Christ is not reigning on the earth in any full sense at the present time. If He were reigning now in any full sense, He would put an end to the rebellion and chaos, but rebellion and chaos are actually increasing in some ways. It will be very different when He comes to reign on the earth.
God's kingdom will begin, in a very real sense, when the King returns and begins to reign. That reign will include His judging the world and removing all who persist in rebellion. The New Testament very often speaks of the kingdom of God in its yet future sense, but it also speaks, on occasion, of His kingdom being here now in a preliminary sense. Romans 14:17, for example, says, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Now we'll discuss the words, "for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night" of Rev. 12:10. Revelation 12:4 and 7-9, verses we have discussed already, enable us to understand this casting down of Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren. Right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, Michael the archangel and his angels will overpower Satan and his angels and throw them down to the earth. As we have discussed, Satan and his angels will be cast down at essentially the same time that the glorified saints are caught up.
Revelation 12:10 shows that Satan will accuse Christians before God until the time he is thrown down, in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. It is very important that we Christians walk in accordance with God's Word and by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis by grace through faith. Then Satan won't have any legitimate accusations to bring against us.
The fact that Satan is able to accuse Christians before God at the present time serves to confirm that Satan still has access to the heavenly places at the present time. He has not yet been thrown down to the earth from his privileged position in the heavenly places (see Eph. 6:12, for example). God has already judged Satan's rebellion in a preliminary sense, but He has not yet thrown him and his angels down to the earth. His throwing Satan and his angels down to the earth at the time of Christ's return is a major feature of His end-time judgment of the world. At the end of Daniel's 70th week, God will cast Satan into the abyss for the duration of the millennium (and surely his angels and demons will be restrained with him). At the end of the millennium, God will release Satan from the abyss for a short season; then He will cast him into the eternal lake of fire (see Revelation chapter 20).
Revelation 12:11, "And they [the brethren, the Christians] overcame him [they overcame the devil] because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." I'll read much of what I said under this verse in my book. First I'll read part of what I said under the words, "they overcame him." The word "they" refers to the Christians who have just been resurrected/glorified and raptured, as pictured in Rev. 12:5. All true Christians, from the start of the Christian church to the time of the birth of the "male child" are included. All true Christians are overcomers according to the definition of the book of Revelation (see, for example, Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21;7)." We overcome by the sufficient grace of God in Christ. I'll quote three of the verses I cited here; the Lord Jesus Christ is the Speaker in each of these verses: Revelation 2:11, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [the Holy Spirit] says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death [Revelation 20:14 shows that the second death is the lake of fire.]." Revelation 3:5, "He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." And Rev. 3:21, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." Each of the verses just cited use the Greek verb "nikao." Some other relevant uses of this Greek verb are found in 1 John 2:13, 14; 4:4; 5:4, 5; and Rev. 15:2. I'll read three of those verses. 1 John 4:4, "You are from God, little children and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." God abides in us, especially in the Person of the Holy Spirit. And 1 John 5:4 and 5, "For whatever is born of God [every born again Christian is born of God] overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
The Christians spoken of in Rev. 12:11 overcame Satan by staying faithful to God (by His grace) until the end. They stay faithful until the end of their lives or until the time the Lord Jesus Christ returns. It is very obvious that they have overcome Satan: They have just been caught up to the throne of God and to eternal glory. Satan, on the other hand, has just been cast down to the earth and is heading toward his final judgment (see Revelation chapter 20). As we continue with Rev. 12:11, we learn more about the overcoming of the saints.
Now we'll discuss the words, "they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb" (of Rev. 12:11). The Christian gospel centers in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His all-important atoning death (the blood of the Lamb). Through His voluntary sacrificial death, believers are forgiven and find acceptance with God (see, for example, Matt. 26:28; John 1:29, 36; Act 20:28; Rom. 5:8-11; Eph. 2:11-22; Col. 1:22; Heb. 9:14-28; 10:1-26; 1 Pet. 1:19-21; Rev. 1:5; 5:9, 10; 21:27). And if Christians should sin, restoration is provided when they repent through the same sacrificial blood of the Lamb (see 1 John 2:1, 2).
When we say that Christians overcome Satan "because of the blood of the Lamb" it must be understood that we receive the enabling grace to overcome through the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death. The Holy Spirit comes to believers through the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning death, regenerating them (giving them the life of God by the indwelling Spirit of God), strengthening them, making them holy, guiding them, etc. Some of the many passages which show that Christians are given the victory over sin and Satan and made righteous and holy through the blood of the Lamb are Romans chapter 6; Rom. 8:1-17; and 1 Pet. 2:24. See my book that deals extensively with this topic, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ." I have found that essentially all born again Christians understand that the New Testament teaches that we are forgiven and accepted with God through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. But I have also found that most born-again Christians do not realize that the New Testament also teaches that we are called, enabled, and required to walk with the victory over sin through the powerful atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This victory over sin is a big part of what new-covenant salvation is all about. But we will never experience the full victory over sin apart from faith for that victory, and our faith must be based on what the Bible actually teaches. The Holy Spirit doesn't just make us righteous and holy while we are passive; faith is active; He enables us to be righteous and holy with the very righteousness and holiness of God, as we walk in accordance with His Word by faith, and walk after the Holy Spirit by faith. This includes our resisting the evil one and temptation.
I'll quote two verses, of a very large number of verses, that teach holiness and victory over sin through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:24, 25, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." The Lamb of God bore our sins with the guilt and the penalties. He bore the guilt of our sins, so we could be forgiven. He bore the penalties for our sins, so we could get out from under those penalties. He bore our spiritual death (I didn't say He died spiritually), so we could be born again; and He bore our bondage to sin, so we could have the total victory over sin. For more on this super-important topic, see my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin" and see the relevant papers on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching).
Now we'll briefly discuss the words "and because of the word of their testimony" (of Revelation 12:11). They continued (in faith) to testify to God the Father and to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and to the basics of the Christian gospel. And, as the last words of this verse show, "they did not love their life even unto death." Overcomers would rather forfeit their life in this world than turn from the Lord Jesus Christ and the glorious salvation they have in union with Him. Many Christians have died as martyrs. To die as a martyr in the will of God is victory, not defeat.
Revelation 12:12, "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." The primary ones to rejoice will be the Christians who were just glorified and raptured from the earth at the time of the mid-week return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Rev. 3:10 the Lord promised all the Christians who are persevering in keeping His Word now, that He will keep them out of the very intense "hour of testing" that is coming on the world in the last days. All Christians are tested, but we are to rejoice that God has determined to keep us out of that very intense "hour of testing." We will be kept out of that hour of testing that will take place worldwide, throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week, by being caught up from the earth to the throne of God just before that time of intense testing will begin.
We will not be living on the earth during the very difficult days of the second half of Daniel's 70th week. We will not be living on the earth when the devil, having been cast down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, attacks Christians with great wrath. He will be attacking Christians who will be converted after the rapture, centering in the end-time remnant of the nation Israel. Revelation 12:7-9 have already informed us how the devil comes down to the earth. Much of his wrath will be manifested through the super-evil reign of Antichrist. Revelation chapters 12 and 13 show that the devil, right after he is cast down to the earth, will give Antichrist "his power and his throne and great authority" (Rev. 13:2), and that Antichrist will begin his three and one-half year super-evil reign at that time. Regarding the words of 12:12, that the devil will know that he has only a short time, it should be quite clear to the devil by that time (if he doesn't know it already) that he will have three and one-half years left before he is cast into the abyss.
Revelation 12:13. "And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted [or, he pursued] the woman who gave birth to the male child." We learned of the super-important birth of the male child in Rev. 12:5. As we have discussed, the woman is a symbol for God's true Israel. True Israel (heavenly Jerusalem) embraces all the believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians, including those converted before the rapture and those converted after the rapture. The only members of God's true Israel who will subject to the devil's attacks throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week will be the Christians converted after the rapture; they will be living on the earth in their natural bodies. Revelation 12:17 shows that the devil's rage against the woman will be manifested in his making war against Christians, those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The fact that they "hold to the testimony of Jesus" confirms that they are Christians.
This verse (12:13) and the following verses show why the woman fled into the wilderness, as pictured in Rev. 12:6 (also see verse 14). The Greek verb translated "he persecuted the woman" here in 12:13 can also be translated "he pursued the woman." The translation "pursued" fits the idea of the woman's fleeing.
Revelation 12:14, "But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent." This verse has much in common with Rev. 12:6, which I'll read, "Then [starting right after the super-important birth and catching up of the male child of Rev. 12:5] the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." For one thing, it is significant that verses 6 and 14 both mention the equivalent of three and one-half years, referring to the second half of Daniel's 70th week. The woman flees into the wilderness because she is being pursued by the devil and his right hand man on the earth, Antichrist.
As we have discussed, the devil will give Antichrist his power and his throne and great authority right after he is thrown down to the earth in the middle of the seven-year period. And Revelation chapter 13 makes is quite clear that Antichrist will be making war with the Christians, and even overcoming them in some ways, during his three and one-half year super-evil reign that will start in the middle of Daniel's 70th week (I'll quote several verses a little later in this article to demonstrate this point). It is significant, however, that Rev. 12:6, 14 (and verses 15, 16) show that God will very much be with the Christians living on the earth throughout those very difficult days. They will experience much of His protective, nourishing care, but there will be many martyrs, etc. God will greatly limit the effectiveness of the devil's and Antichrist's attacks against the Christians. Otherwise, God's people would literally be annihilated from the earth in a short period of time.
I'll read part of what I said in my book under Rev. 12:14, The "two wings of the great eagle" remind us of Exodus 19:4: "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself." As God delivered Israel from Pharoah and Egypt and brought her to Himself in the wilderness (on the way to the promised land), He will deliver the end-time elect remnant of Israel from the god of this world and will bring them "into the wilderness" on their way to heaven. He will nourish them throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week, even as He provided manna, etc. for Israel in the wilderness.
If all we had was Rev. 12:6, 14-16, we would not have an adequate appreciation of the fact that those will be very difficult days for the people of God's true Israel living on the earth at that time, and there will be martyrs (see Rev. 20:4). These verses help balance out the teaching of passages like Rev. 13:7; Dan. 7:21, 25; 12:7; 8:10-14; 12:7; and Zech. 13:9. I'll read the first half of Rev. 13:7, "It was also given to him [to Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them...." And I'll read Dan. 7:21 and 25, "I kept looking, and that horn [Antichrist] was waging war with the saints and overpowering them. ... (verse 25) He [Antichrist] will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they [the saints; the members of God's true Israel who will be living on the earth at that time] will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time [which equals the three and one-half years of the second half of Daniel's 70th week]." And I'll read the key part of Dan. 12:7, "...that it would be for a time, times, and half a time [referring to the second half of Daniel's 70th week]; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed." We will discuss Daniel chapter 12 verse-by-verse before we finish this study. Daniel chapter 12 is a very important chapter dealing with end-time prophecy, and it helps show that the Lord Jesus Christ will return right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.
I doubt that "the wilderness" of Rev. 12:6, 14 represents any one specific location on the earth. Apparently this wilderness will have a worldwide scope. On this wilderness, compare Ezek. 20:32-38.
Revelation 12:15, 16. "And the serpent [the devil] poured water out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. (16) But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth." This reminds me of a cartoon. You can picture a big, evil serpent pursuing the good woman. All of a sudden a gigantic river of water pours out of the serpent's mouth, and just when it looks like the woman will be swept away and killed by the flood of water, the earth opens up a large chasm which drinks up the river of water and the woman is saved.
I'll read what I said under these verses in my book, I assume the words, the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth speak (in figurative language) of all the attacks that Satan will launch against the believers throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. Most (if not all) of the attacks will come through Antichrist and the false prophet (see Rev. 12:17 through 13:18). However, throughout this period, God will watch over His people, "But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth" (which pictures God's miraculous intervention in behalf of His people; see Rev. 12: 6 and 14).
One very important thing that God will do for these Christians is to give them the grace to be faithful, so that they can come off victorious over Satan and Antichrist. We know that these believers will endure much hardship throughout those three and one-half years, but it will all work together for good, including for their good. In Rev. 15:2, for example, we see these victorious and then glorified believers in heaven about the time of the end of Daniel's 70th week. I'll read Rev. 15:2 and make a few comments. "And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire [Rev. 4:6 helps us see that this sea of glass is in heaven, before the throne of God. The fact that the sea of glass is "mixed with fire" probably pictures the refining fires that these believers had just come through (On these refining fires that the saints will endure throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week, see Dan. 12:10 and Zech. 13:9.)], and those who had been victorious over the beast [Antichrist] and his image and the number of his name [the number 666], standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God." This multitude embraces all the believers who will stay faithful throughout those days, including those who are martyred in those days and those who will still be alive at the end of Daniel's 70th week. All of those members of God's true Israel will be glorified and taken to heaven by the time of the end of Daniel's 70th week. Having been glorified they will now begin to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ. They will join the very large number of the members of God's true Israel who were glorified and began to reign with the Lord in the middle of the seven-year period.
I'll read Rev. 12:5 again, and make a few comments for review. Revelation 12:5 is of key importance. "And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne." The woman who gives birth to the male child is a symbol for God's true Israel (those who are born of God's heavenly Jerusalem). The woman embraces all the members of God's true Israel, including the believers from Old Testament days and all true Christians, including those converted before the rapture and those converted after the rapture. The believers who are part of the male child will be born into the fullness of eternal life and glorified in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and they will begin to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ at that time, with a never-ending reign. The male child of Rev. 12:5 does not include the members of God's true Israel who will be converted after the rapture, but they will be glorified and reigning by the time the millennial kingdom begins.
God bless you!
Copyright by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.