1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

What I’m preaching about today is TIMING OF THE RAPTURE & the CHRONOLOGY OF END-TIMES EVENTS.

& The first thing that I want to emphasize is that this IS NOT an issue that should cause division among Christians …

When it comes to the issue of eschatology, the study of End-Times events, THE TRIBULATION, & the RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH …

We should come to the Bible with an open mind & allow the Bible define its own doctrines.

But, no matter where you stand on this issue …

… whether you are pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib or somewhere in between …

… you are welcome in this church …

With that said, let’s begin in MATTHEW 24, where Jesus is directly speaking to His disciples about End-Times events.

Matthew 24 is also paralleled in Mark 13 and Luke 21.


Beginning w/ VERSE 3:

This passage begins with the disciples directly asking Jesus about End Times events.

It’s interesting that this discussion takes place on the MOUNT OF OLIVES …

… the exact same place where Jesus ascended to heaven the first and the exact same place Jesus will set His feet when He returns.

So the discussion about His return happens at the same location as His return.

This is described in Zechariah, chapter 14.

Zechariah 14:3 says: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

Jesus will literally cleave the mount of Olives in half when He returns.

& SO JESUS ANSWERS His disciple in Matthew 24, VERSES 4-5.

Many would come claiming to be Jesus and deceive many.

And people do make the claim sometimes that Jesus has returned secretly or that His return has already happened.

But later in Matthew, the Bible says that when Jesus returns, there will be no mistaking that it’s Him.

The entire world will know.

Matthew 24:27 says: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

So this idea of a SECRET RAPTURE, where the people of the world will wonder where all the Christians went is a lie.

The world will know that Jesus returned & the Saints will be raptured @ Jesus’ return, so that everyone will know it.

We’ll get to this more in a moment.


And so Jesus begins to set forth a CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS that must FIRST TAKE PLACE before His return …


or what we commonly call “THE RAPTURE”.

Jesus says that there will be wars and rumors of wars …

(& in this country today, some of us are concerned about war w/ Russia or China).

And we hear of such rumors.

But He says not worry, because these things must FIRST HAPPEN, but the end is not yet.

Could we be at that point of WARS & RUMOURS OF WARS right now?


This is describing a GREAT WORLD WAR: “nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom”.

This isn’t just any WAR, this is the GREAT WAR that will lead to the TRIBULATION.

And this will bring about famines, and deadly disease, and earthquakes worldwide …

& The Bible says that these are “THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS”.

This just signals the ONSET of the TRIBULATION.

AND IN VERSE 9, SPEAKING TO CHRISTIANS, HE SAYS: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”

• So at the outset of the tribulation, we are still here.

Christians will be killed during this period.

And because of this worldwide persecution, the Bible says in v. 10-13 of Matthew:
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many [this is the 2nd warning that Jesus gives against false prophets during this time. So there will be an increase in false religion & false Messiahs].
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

So because of this worldwide persecution, even family members will betray one another unto death.

It will be a Nazi-like climate, but far worse than we have ever seen.

Matthew 10:21 says: “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”

And so all of these things must happen first, according to Matthew 24, before Jesus returns to rapture His church …

& pour out HIS WRATH upon the world.

There is a specific CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS that Jesus reveals to us from his discussion at the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24.

& then we get to a verse that many people pluck out of context (and I used to wonder about this myself).

MATTHEW 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

I briefly mentioned this in another sermon recently, but people sometimes read this verse by itself …

And think that Jesus will return as soon as the Gospel is preached to all the nations.

But the Gospel has gone into all nations already, to the remotest parts of Africa.

And so why hasn’t the End come?

There is a chronology of events.

First, there will be WARS & rumors of wars.

Then, there will be a GREAT WORLD WAR.





& once that happens … THEN THE END WILL COME.

• But before the END COMES, Jesus WARNS THE DISCIPLES in Matthew 24 that there will be GREAT TRIBULATION when the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION is revealed …


Here, Jesus directly references the BOOK OF DANIEL, when mentioning the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL, particularly the last 4 chapters (9 – 12), are somewhat complicated chapters shrouded in mystery.

End-Times enthusiasts have all kinds of theories about these chapters.

Even the Book of Daniel itself says, in the final verses to the book: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end …” (12:4).

So Daniel’s prophecy is hidden to us in many ways, until the End Times.

But we can still gather certain pieces of information from it.

Biblical prophecy is often dualistic in nature.

And what I mean by that is that there is a short-term, more immediate application of prophecy …

… and a greater, long-term one, usually referring to the End Times.

This is called DUAL PROPHECY.

& The ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION mentioned by Daniel, I believe, was such a prophecy.

1. The abomination of Desolation is 1st mentioned in Daniel 9.

Daniel talks about a prince who will overrun Jerusalem and cause the daily sacrifices to cease.

Daniel 9:27 says: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate …”

We see also a reference to the abomination of desolation in DANEIL 12:11: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

These passages, I believe, in the immediate sense, was a reference to KING ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES IV …

… whom history says ruled Jerusalem from 175-64 B.C …

(And this is where dual prophecy comes in).

In the immediate, short-term application of the Daniel prophecy …

… History records that King Antiochus put an end to the DAILY SACRIFICES … and set up an alter to ZEUS in the Jewish temple.

This is also described in the APOCRYPHAL BOOK, 1 MACCABEES.

Now, I don’t necessarily consider 1 MACCABEES Scripture, but it has historical value.

The King James Bible translators felt it held value in 1611 and published it in a separate section.

1 MACABEES describes Antiochus defiling the temple, as Daniel described.

1 MACCABEES 1:41-50 says:
41 Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people,
42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.
43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath.
44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land,
45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days:
46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people:
47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts:
48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation:
49 To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances.
50 And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.

Later in the book of 1 MACCABEES, the Israelites rebelled & removed the “abomination of desolation” from their temple.

1 Maccabees 6:7 says: “Also that they had pulled down the abomination, which he had set up upon the altar in Jerusalem …”

So this is a clear reference to Daniel’s prophetic words.

But that only applies to the short-term application of that prophecy.


If Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the Jewish Temple sometime between 175-64 BEFORE CHRIST …

Why would Jesus be warning His disciples abut it again as a FUTURE EVENT?

This has already occurred, before Jesus was born on earth.

This goes to the heart of DUAL PROPHECY.

Daniel was not only referring to Antiochus Epiphanes …

… but to a more distant END-TIMES FUTURE EVENT …

… namely the ANTI-CHRIST who Epiphanes foreshadowed.

Just as Epiphanes set up an image of Zeus in the Temple …

The Anti-Christ will set up an image of the Beast for the world to worship.

This will be the ultimately, ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION that Jesus referred to in the End Times.

We see in MATTHEW 24:21, right after describing the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, Jesus says:

“FOR THEN shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

That hasn’t occurred yet. So this is a clear reference to the ultimate ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION …

… which is the rise of the Anti-Christ and setting up the image of the BEAST to be worshipped.

And the Bible says that Christians will still be here during this time …

because this event will SINGAL the start of the GREAT TRIBULATION …

… when the ANTI-CHRIST will persecute and kill the Saints of God …

Revelation 13:5-7:
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Some people also claim that this was fulfilled already when Rome conquered Israel & destroyed the temple in AD 70 …

and Jesus may have been referring to that event also as a DUAL PROPHECY …

… warning the believers at that time who were in JUDAEA to FLEE into the mountains …

… to escape destruction at the hands of Rome.

But ultimately, Jesus said that there will be great tribulation such as has never been seen in the world …

… once that happens.

And that obviously has not happened yet.
It is still to come.

NOTICE … still no mention of the RAPTURE …

Let’s follow the timeline of events.

Continuing in Matthew 24:22-28

This is the 3rd time that false Christ’s are mentioned …

Obviously, during this period, when the world is falling apart, many will claim to be the returned Christ.

But, again, Jesus says that every one will know it when He returns.

It will not be hidden.

Revelation 1:7 says: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

The Bible says that when Jesus returns, the sky itself will depart, and men will KNOW that God’s wrath has come.

Revelation 6:12-17 says:
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became as black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth forth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

So this all happens immediately after the SUN & MOON are darkened …

This happens after the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION is revealed, & after He persecutes the Saints.

Not Before … otherwise the chronology would not make sense.

Revelation 6 is paralleled in Matthew 24:29-31:
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened,

[Do you see the connection there? AFTER THE TRIBULATION THE SUN & MOON SHALL BE DARKENED. AFTER the tribulation … and when does Jesus return to pour out His wrath? After the Sun & moon are darkened]

and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

THERE’S THE RAPTURE … it happens AFTER, not before the TRIBULATION …



Luke 21, a parallel to Matthew 24 describes it this way:
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Where the confusion occurs for many Christians …

… is that they mix up the WRATH OF GOD w/ the TRIBULATION period.

Some teach that we can’t go through the TRIBULATION because Christians are not subject to GOD’S WRATH.

IT’S TRUE that we’re not subject to GOD’S WRATH …

It can be more aptly described as the WRATH OF THE ANTI-CHRIST …

… as he goes out to conquer and to kill the Saints of God.

IT is the time of trouble & testing that will come upon all the world …

GOD’S WRATH comes AFTER THE TRIBULATION, when He pours out the trumpet and vial judgments upon the earth …

In John 16:33, Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

In Acts 14:22, Paul said: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

Paul also said in Romans 5:3: “… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”

In 2 Timothy 3:1, he said: “In This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

In 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul also said: “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”

Paul was speaking of the immediate persecution and tribulation of his day …

… but nowhere does God say that He will keep us from tribulation …

In fact, the Bible repeatedly tells us the opposite …

… that as Christians, we WILL endure PERSECUTION.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:4, Paul says: “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:”

In Revelation 1:9 John the Apostle says: “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,”

It’s when Christians mix up the WRATH OF GOD, which are the TRUMPET & VIAL JUDGMENTS in the BOOK OF REVELATION …

w/ the OPENING OF THE SEALS, which are a revealing of the events of the TRIBULATION.

THE SEALS reveal the TRIBULATION (during the reign of the Anti-Christ) …

& the TRUMPET & VIALS are the JUDGMENTS OF GOD upon the wicked and the unbelieving.

& This is where we see GREAT PARALLELS between the BOOK OF REVELATION & MATTHEW 24.

As we study the BOOK OF REVELATION, CHAPTERS 6 & 7, and parts of 8, it all becomes very clear.

SO PLEASE GO AHEAD & TURN TO REVELATION 6, and we’ll piece it all together …

in this final section …

… so that there is no doubt in your mind as to the order & chronology of End-Times events …

IN REVELATION 5, the previous chapter, John the apostle has a vision of …

God the Father on His throne holding a book in His right hand …

But the book is sealed with 7 seven seals, and none but the Lamb of God is able to open the seals.

And so what we see in Chapter 6, is JESUS opening the seals one by one …

… and revealing the things which are to come …

People tend to confuse the SEALS OF GOD with the TRUMPET AND VIAL JUDGMENTS …

& lump them together all as the WRATH OF GOD …

But the SEALS are an opening of the ROLL OF THE BOOK.

The books in those days were literally scrolls …

And so as each seal is opened …

… they reveal prophecy about future End-Times events.

REVELATION, chapter 1, verse 1, says that the purpose of the book of Revelation is: “… to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass …”

So the SEALS are simply meant to reveal what is to come …

So let’s begin reading, Revelation 6:1-2

Some people think that this is Jesus, because he is riding on a white horse.

But the FIRST SEAL reveals the reign of the ANTI-CHRIST …

He is pictured with a BOW, going out to conquer the KINGDOMS OF THE EARTH …

& He is given A CROWN …

Which is a picture of the Anti-Christ receiving political authority.

REVELATION 6:3-4 is the opening of the 2ND SEAL.

The second seal is a picture of WAR.

This mirrors what we saw in MATTHEW 24, about wars & rumors of wars …

… and a GREAT WAR.

THE 3RD SEAL is opened in VERSES 5-6.

This is a picture of famine.

Again, a parallel of Matthew 24.

First, WAR is mentioned, then FAMINE …

Remember in Matthew 24:7, Jesus said: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines …”


It’s chronological.

And the rapture does not happen until AFTER these things occur, not before.

REVELATION 6:7-8 reveals the 4TH SEAL.

Now we see DEATH personified w/ the violence of the sword, and with hunger, and with death (which sounds like pestilence and disease).


… the Bible says that the beasts of the earth kill more men …

… presumably as cities are abandoned & overrun, chaos ensues …

… & the world undergoes depopulation at the hand of the Anti-Christ.

REVELATION 6:9-11 is the opening of the 5TH SEAL.

The martyrs who were slain during this time plead with God to avenge their blood.

But God tells them to wait a little while longer …

… until more of their number come in …

… until their fellowshipping brethren who are to be martyred for the faith are slain.

REVELATION 6:12-13 is the opening of THE 6TH SEAL.

This lines up perfectly w/ Matthew 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”

So again, AFTER THE TRIBULATION, the sun and moon will be darkened.

THAT is the sign that Jesus is about to return to RAPTURE His church …

& pour out HIS WRATH upon the world.

Matthew 24:30-31 says:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


We see it PARALLELED in the exact same way in the rest of REVELATION 6:13-17.

It is only after the opening of the seals, the tribulation, the sun & moon being darkened, & the heavens shaken …

that the Bible then begins to describe GOD’S WRATH … IN REVELATION 7 …

The first half of REV. 7 describes the sealing of the 144,000 …

The second half of Rev. 7 describes the RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.

So remember, in Rev. 6, the people of the earth cried out that the WRATH OF GOD is come!

They’ve seen the SUN & the MOON DARKENED and witnessed great signs in the heavens …

Then we get to REV. 7:1-4: The 144,000 are sealed.

AND THEN SUDDENLY, after the 144,000 are sealed, we read in VERSE 9-17.

A GREAT MULTITUDE from all nations suddenly appear in heaven …

& THEN, finally, in REVELATION 8, the final seal, the 7TH SEAL is opened.


… which is the WRATH OF GOD.

The CHURCH will not be here during the TRUMPET JUDGMENTS.

That’s why, in this church, we are POST-TRIB / PRE-WRATH.

We believe that Christians will be here for the TRIBULATION …

(as revealed in Rev. 6 & Matthew 24).

But that we will be RAPTURED (as shown in Rev. 7) …

… after the tribulation & before the WRATH OF GOD (as revealed in Rev. 8 and onwards).

SO WHILE WE MAY NOT KNOW the exact day or hour …

… we can know the chronology of events & look for the SIGNS, leading up to Jesus’ return & rapture of the church.

God will not forsake us. He will rapture His church, BUT at the appointed time.

Daniel 12:1 says: “… and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

We will be delivered in the midst of tribulation, when Jesus returns to judge the world.

I’m going to end where I began.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 says:
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


All Glory to God, New Covenant Baptist © 2015.