The Opening Act
New World Order Series, Part 4
The Bible has given us movie trailers and clips for the opening act of the New World Order. In Revelation 13:2-7, John describes a ruler who will receive unlimited authority from Satan to take control over all people, languages, and nations. While a "nation grabbing" event is barely imaginable, governments in power during this trying time will freely submit to a single, global ruler. Even more difficult to imagine is why the once prosperous and exceptional nation known as the United States would give up its constitution, a document having faithfully served "We the People" for more than two centuries?
One possible scenario for the opening act could be global plagues resulting in great loss of life, as John choreographs during the Great Tribulation. The Bible reveals that God's wrath will be poured out on a disbelieving world resulting in a devastating global crisis of unprecedented measure (Revelation 6:17). Once the wrath begins, people will be fearful and eager to embrace anyone promising rescue from unbridled horror. Could the European economic crisis and the growing U.S. monetary debt combine to form the perfect storm described in the seal judgments in Revelation 6? And then, could this calamity lead to loss of our national sovereignty?
The "plague and disaster" scenario in John's vision makes no mention of the church during these judgments. In fact, while John mentions the church twenty-two times in Revelation 1 through 3, he does not mention the church again until Revelation 18:23 when he refers to the church as the bride of Christ. Why? This minor detail might suggest another more likely scenario for the opening act, which is the rapture of the church beginning in Revelation 4:1. The apostle John says, "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter." The importance of this verse shows there is a sequence of events that must follow the holy command to "come up hither".
Kent Crockett wrote, "Let me first say that our fellowship as Christians is not based upon the timing of the rapture, but upon the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Some have accused those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture as ‘escapists,' trying to avoid trouble and persecution. On the contrary, the Church has been and always will be persecuted as long as we are in the world; but, this is not the same as the wrath of God poured out during the Tribulation. We believe the rapture occurs before the Tribulation because scripture overwhelmingly supports a pre-tribulation rapture, as opposed to other theories." 
Although the Bible does not give specific timing for the rapture, there are clues and warnings laced throughout scripture suggesting "the great escape" will occur before the tribulation. One clue comes from Revelation 4:4-10, when John, after being taken up to Heaven, sees twenty-four elders wearing crowns. The significance of "crowns" in John's vision is important when you realize believers receive their crowns from Christ at His coming (1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).
For those among us who have not put on the wedding garment of righteous faith, I cannot imagine a more horrible wail of remorse than to realize they have been left behind (Matthew 25:1-12). Unprepared individuals who miss the rapture will go through the tribulation, and they will be martyred for their faith (Revelation 6:9). While some believers passionately reject the pre-tribulation rapture, biblical evidence and logic strongly suggest otherwise. As evangelist Todd Strandberg says, "Surely, the Lord would not be warning us to watch for a day that would be coming at the end of the tribulation. That type of logic would be like warning children, as they cross the road, to watch out for tail lights." 
God's irrevocable promise to you and me is that our faithfulness will keep us from the hour of trouble that is soon coming upon the earth (Revelation 3:10).
Next: Part 5: The Bride of Christ
 Evidence for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture – Kent Crockett – Courtesy of Rapture Ready
 Rapture Ready – Nearing Midnight – October 1, 2012 – Todd Strandberg
New World Order, The Series
Part 1: To Rule Over You
Part 2: One Banner of Faith
Part 3: No Need for God
Part 4: The Opening Act
Part 5: The Bride of Christ
Part 6: The Wedding Ceremony
Part 7: The Coming King of Kings
Image Credit: Ricardo Wang; "Do You Believe in Rapture, Baby?"; Creative Commons
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