The Rapture Chapter (Pt. 6)

The good news is that God will reward His servants, the small and the great (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12). The bad news is that He will “destroy those who destroy the earth,” not just ecologically, but through the effects of their sin. Ironic, isn’t it? The people who live for the earth and its pleasures are often the ones who are destroying the very world they worship. In truth, the world does not belong to them.

The third dramatic event centers on the opening of the temple of God in heaven, “and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple” (11:19). The ark disappeared in 586 BC after the Babylonians stormed the walls of Jerusalem and razed the temple. The ark contained a jar of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the tablets with the Ten Commandments. The ark was a reminder to the people of God of His special covenant with them and a promise that His presence was with them. Originally, the promise was to Israel, but now it is to all who know Jesus. The full display of God’s glory is going to be revealed. This is a sign of God’s faithfulness, although seeing it at this juncture makes it sound rather scary. In the Old Testament, the glory of God rested upon the ark and God’s Law was within the ark, which incidentally reminds us that those two go together and are never separated.

In this scene, the temple is opened, and the long-lost ark is revealed. What is implied by the reappearance of the ark? I believe the return of the ark is a subtle statement that the undeniable glory of God is on display for all to see. In the face of God’s obvious glory, the enemies of God are destroyed and God fulfills all His promises! His Word is validated by the return of the ark and confirmed as true.

Not surprisingly, amid this grand revelation of the ark in God’s temple, a raft of tumultuous calamities assails the earth: hail, lightning, thunder, and earthquakes. Notice the contrast: the coming of the glory of God is encouraging and exciting to those who know and worship Him, but it will terrify those who don’t. Note also that the situation is either-or, yes or no, with nothing in between. God reigns. He rules. Jesus is Lord today. Stay close to Him, and your faith will be vindicated. This is not the time to be complacent or compromising. Nor is it a time to drift idly along in your faith. Stay as close to Jesus as you can, and you will be safe from the wrath of God.

The Rapture chapter begins with the temple on earth being restored and then desecrated. It closes with the opening of the temple in heaven.

I believe that Jesus will not return until the Antichrist is on the scene, and in Revelation 11 we see the Antichrist appear as an advocate of peace and a prophet of prosperity. The world will view him as a leader who can do no wrong. I believe he will make arrangements for the temple to be built alongside the Dome of the Rock, and he will encourage the Jews to reinstitute the sacrificial system. For the first three and half years, the Jews will prosper under this system, but then God’s wrath will be unleashed on earth. When this happens, John warns us, don’t despair, because it is almost time for the King of kings to return!

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