In the last installment I wrote that God set Israel aside for awhile and created the church. Some people think that God just threw Israel away, but he didn’t. The church and Israel are like 2 sets of dishes. Some you use for everyday and some you use for special company. The church and Israel are like those 2 sets of dishes. God had one set out of the cupboard for awhile, now he has the other set out of the cupboard, but they’re both in the house and being used, not thrown away. During this time that the church is out of the cupboard, people of the nation of Israel can still give their lives over to Jesus, accepting his sacrifice for their disobedience, and be part of the church. God didn’t throw them in the trash can!
The church has been called a mystery because nothing like it had ever been created before Jesus went back to be with God. The extra kicker in this mystery is the work of the third spirit called the Holy Spirit. Since this super intelligent being called God created the whole universe to run so smoothly, he can also be everywhere at once through his third spirit. When some of God’s people alive during the earlier part of the Time Line needed extra help, they would call out to God and he would help them with the Holy Spirit. Now that the church is in operation the Holy Spirit, that third spirit of God, somehow marks the members of his church once they have turned their lives over to Jesus. The spirit also lives in the hearts of those who have turned their lives over to Jesus to help them learn and to live to please God.
When the last person on earth who will be part of the church turns their lives over to Jesus, then it will be time for all members to be taken to the place where God dwells. The Bible says that those who have died will be called up first, and raised from the dead with new bodies that will be able to withstand the different atmosphere of Heaven – bodies that will never die. The next group to be called will be those who are alive who have turned their lives over to Jesus. They, too, will be given new bodies that will never die. When all the believers (people who have believed in the sacrifice of Jesus and turned their lives over to him) have left earth, that means the third spirit of God has been taken back to Heaven with them. Not only had the Holy Spirit helped the believers, but he kept the bad in the world from getting out of hand. More on that later.
The Tribulation graphic chart begins with the snatching away (the rapture) of the believers into Heaven to be with God the first spirit (the Father), his second spirit (the Son Jesus) and the third spirit, the Holy Spirit. It’s like God washed the set of church dishes he was using and put them in the cupboard, and started using the Israel dishes again. The time of the church is over which is called the age of grace, when God in his grace called out people from earth to become his children. Now God’s dealings with people on earth, and Israel, will be like it was in the old days – much earlier on the Time Line.
The one thing that will be different is that the enemy of God, called Satan, will not be restrained like he used to be, and he will do everything in his power to kill off all the people of Israel and anyone who has turned their lives over to God during this time. Unlike the age of grace – the church age – people won’t have the Holy Spirit living in them and marking them for Heaven. They will have to work for their souls to make it Heaven. If they believe in the work of Jesus, then decided to turn away, it will have been like they rejected God all along. The people of Israel will go back to the old ways of sacrificing animals to cover their disobedience, their sins. Only those alive and still believing at either their death or the end of these 7 years of tribulation will make it into Heaven.
The chart shows 2 different time lines – events in Heaven, and events on earth. I am not a Bible scholar, just a lay person, but I have studied for the past 30-plus years and most of that study was in the field of Eschatology – or the study of end-times events. I have always wanted to know what to look for and what will happen around the end of the Time Line. There are several great teachers whose works I have studied along with the Bible, and I have watched our understanding of Biblical prophecy unfold as things near the end of the Time Line. I have set this time line chart up using the knowledge I’ve gained over the years of study. If, God forbid, you are here after a large number of people have suddenly disappeared you will need to know what will happen during the 7 years of the literally hell on earth that awaits you. If no one’s disappeared, it means we are still in the age of grace, the church age, and this should give you a glimpse of what you can miss if you turn your life over to Jesus. If you have already done that, you will see what will await you in Heaven during this time.
Next time, the Seal Judgments.