What do you think about the views of Seventh Day Adventists in general, but especially on prophecy and Revelation, and particularly on the period known as the Millennium?
I have watched this 28½-minute video in which Doug Batchelor, a Seventh Day Adventist, talks about the 1,000-year period, the Millennium, to take place after Jesus returns: Millennium 1,000 Years. If you can watch it, I am wondering what are your opinions about it.
I also am attaching two PDF files, The Two Witnesses and The Secret Rapture, which express Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) views. I also am wondering if you have any opinions about SDA views in general and, specifically, what they believe about prophecy and the book of Revelation.
I watched the video and read the two articles that you suggested. Before I comment on them, I will tell you, in several paragraphs, what my evaluation of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) belief system is.
In the Spring of 2004, I attended a concentrated seminar put on by SDAs. It was everyday for three full weeks. On Saturdays, I attended their church services, and there was lunch and fellowship following. There was less instruction on Saturday afternoons, compared to the other days of the week, but there was some.
Even before going to the seminar, I went online and did some studying about SDA and their beliefs. Therefore, I already had a pretty good grasp about what they believed. I chose to attend the seminar not because I was searching, nor because I did not know what I believed, since I had read the Bible most of my life and had studied it in great depth after retiring in 1991. I already had developed a very firm belief system, which I maintain today. I learned all about SDA teachings simply because I wanted to understand their perspective and point of view.
Since I continue to be a steadfast Torah advocate, I do accept the SDA affirmation of the seventh day Sabbath. I am firmly convinced that Catholicism and the majority of Protestantism are dead wrong in observing the Sabbath on Sunday (see Sabbath: Saturday or Sunday?). There is no way around Exodus 20:8-11, Leviticus 23:3, and Deuteronomy 5:12-15. These passages speak of a seventh day Sabbath (not a first day Sabbath), and I do not believe that this important precept was "nailed to the cross" with Jesus, as many insist to be the case.
SDA's beliefs about Jesus/God generally align with my own. I have seen many SDA Bible teachings with which I agree completely. I do not question the salvation of those SDA members who understand that we are saved by faith, through the grace of God, and by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. (Of course, there are those in any denomination who are unsaved because they have the false notion that going to church, or doing good deeds, is what saves them.) I definitely do not believe, though, that one must be baptized into the SDA church to be saved. I also do not believe that the final pope, of the Catholic Church, will be the Antichrist, as I was "taught" in the SDA seminar that I attended.
As far as SDA views on prophecy and most of the book of Revelation, I mostly disagree with SDA teachings on a host of things. They believe that many things in Revelation already have happened. For instance, I think they generally believe that one of the earthquakes mentioned in Revelation was the Lisbon quake in 1755 and that the stars appearing to fall from the sky was the Leonid meteor shower in 1833.
On the contrary, I believe that the vast majority of the book of Revelation is yet to take place, most of it during the 70th Week of Daniel (final seven years), in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. SDAs do not believe in a final seven-year period of this age, prophetically speaking. They believe that the seven years of Daniel 9:27 transpired long ago, during the first century A.D. (typically 33 or 34 A.D.). There are other groups who believe this as well (see 70th Week: Alternate View).
SDAs also believe that at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, the Jews and Israelites stopped being God's chosen people, since they had rejected their Messiah, Jesus. These things simply are not true (see God's Covenant: with Israel or the Church?). The prophecy of Daniel 9:27 speaks of an agreement, into which Israel would engage for seven years. There was no such agreement in the first century.
SDAs claim that their prophetic interpretation is from a "historist" perspective. That is, prophecies expanded through history and will climax at the time of the end. However, SDAs have at least one thing in common with those whose prophetic interpretation is from a "preterist" point of view. Pertaining to the prophesied 70th Week of Daniel 9:27, both views insist that the 70th Week ended somewhere in the range of 27-33 A.D. I explain why I believe this view is incorrect in these two email responses:
I agree with SDAs that the millennial period will last 1,000 years, and it will transpire after Jesus' second advent (bodily descent) to earth. I also agree with SDAs that there will be no "pre-tribulation" rapture, although I am convinced that there will be multiple "catching up" events, which they do not believe. I believe that the primary catching up event will be pre-wrath rapture, as described in my Rapture commentary.
I have numerous disagreements with SDAs as to what will happen after Jesus returns back to earth, though. I think we both agree that the earthquake to take place at the Seventh Bowl Judgment (Revelation 16:17-19) will rock the entire earth, leveling mountains and destroying islands. This, and other processes of mass destruction before that point, will cause calamitous damage to the earth's surface. However, since I know that Jesus is God, I have no problem believing that He can and will restore and renovate much of the earth after He comes—a grand "makeover," as it were.
On the contrary, SDAs believe that the earth will be barren and forsaken by God during the Millennium. Batchelor places 2 Peter 3:10,12 at the beginning of the Millennium. Yet, there are numerous passages in the Bible depicting a glorious, magnificent earth after Jesus returns. Here is just a small sample of these passages: Isaiah 2:2-5, 4:2-6, 11:1-16; Ezekiel 40:5 thru 43:12 and 47:1 thru 48:35; Zechariah 8:3-23. Thus, I believe that during that thousand-year period, most places on the earth will flourish and most people will be living peaceful, productive lives.Many, including SDAs, place 2 Peter 3:10 at the beginning of the Millennium. The assumption is that as soon as the "day of the Lord" begins, the surface of the earth will be destroyed by fire and will be laid bare—a "shaky foundation" upon which they construct many of their defective theories about the Millennium.
There are many Bible verses where a lengthy period of time has passed between one sentence and the sentence that follows, or even between two portions of the same sentence. One such example is in Daniel 12:2, where it desribes how some of the dead will awake to everlasting life (Revelation 20:4), while others will awake to shame and everlasting contempt (20:12-15), with a 1,000-year span between these two events. Likewise, I believe there is a 1,000-year span of time between the first and second parts of 2 Peter 3:10.
Let's look at the entire context of this passage:
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ... But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare [in some versions, "burned up"]. ... That day [of the Lord] will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3:7,8,10,12,13)Notice, the following:
Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. ... Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. ... Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. ... He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 20:11,14, 21:1,5)All of the things in 2 Peter 3:10,12,13 will not happen at the beginning of the day of the Lord but, rather, at the end of the day of the Lord period—that is, at the end of the Millennium. To think that this present heavens and earth will merely "catch fire" and be "laid bare" is a considerable oversimplification of what actually is going to happen, which will be a complete annihilation of this entire Creation. There certainly is nothing described in the Seals, Trumpet Judgments, or Bowl Judgments within the book of Revelation that would explain a total burning up and destruction of the present heavens and the earth, prior to the Millennium.
At the end of the Millennium, everything that we know and see on this earth, and everything in the vast universe that astronomers have observed billions of light years away, will be completely burned up with fire and utterly annihilated. That is, everything that God created the first time—other than saved believers—will completely pass away and become nonexistent. Look at what King David wrote about this:
In the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you. (Psalm 102:25-28)David indicated that all the earth and heavens will wear out and be tossed out. That is, everything that God has created—from the foundations (not just the surface) of the earth, to the immense heavens above—will perish, being discarded like old, worn-out, useless clothing that has served its purpose and no longer is needed anymore. Most likely, everything will have been thrown into the immeasurably immense lake of fire, into which the devil, death, hades, and all whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown (Revelation 20:10,14,15). Only God will remain and along with Him, by His grace, His saved servants.
After all of this has been discarded and has passed away (which will end the lengthy seventh "day" of His rest in which we now exist), God will go into "creative mode" again; He will create a new heavens and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). These will not be merely "renovations" or "transformations" of the old heavens and the old earth, because the latter will be eternally gone.
Something that is literally "new" has not been "renewed"; it is something that has just come into existence, for the first time. God said that He will "make all things new" (Revelation 21:5). This means that all of the things made, at that point, will be brand new. Furthermore, nothing in that brand new, pristine, perfect Creation ever will deteriorate, nor will it ever be tainted or contaminated by sin, which will have been tossed into the lake of fire, along with Satan. For more about all of this, see the old and new Creations section in Part 2 of my Creation commentary.
Now, SDAs teach that the Abyss ("abussos" or "void") in which Satan will exist, during Millennium, will be on the barren earth. The legion of demons that Jesus cast out of a man begged Jesus not to send them into the Abyss (Luke 8:30,31). Yet, if that just meant the "barren earth," it would have made no sense for Jesus to have sent them there, because the earth was not barren at that time. No, the Abyss is a real place, probably in a dimension of void and limbo that God has created, separate from this dimension in which we exist. When Satan is there, during the Millennium, he will not be able to have any effect on people here on earth, because he will not have any access at all to this earth.
The Millennium will not be a time for Satan to look on the "barren earth" and see the product of all the destruction he has made, then to contemplate whether or not he should change. The Millennium will be a time for Jesus and glorified believers to rule and reign over mortal beings on the earth "with an iron scepter" (Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15), because the ability to sin will still be within mortal people during this time. We know this because it will not be until the very end of the Millennium that death is thrown into the lake of fire (20:14), and death is the wage of sin (Romans 6:23). Jesus will reign, for a thousand years, until all of His enemies have been placed under His feet, with the last enemy being death (1 Corinthians 15:25,26). Another purpose of the Millennium is to prove to mankind that, even without the temptation of Satan and demons, mortal man is fallen and sinful within himself, and unredeemable, apart from God.
Revelation 20:7-10 describes how Satan will be released from the Abyss to go and deceive the people of the nations—that is, the ones who have not humbled themselves and accepted the rule and reign of Jesus over the earth. Satan will make one last attempt to destroy Jesus and the people of God. It indicates that all the people that Satan will deceive into following him will be, in number, "like the sand on the seashore." How could that be possible if there were no people on the earth during the 1,000 years, as SDAs maintain? Where will this gigantic multitude of people come from?
Batchelor says that this great multitude of people will be the resurrected, unsaved people from all the ages. However, we know that it is not until after Satan has been tossed into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10) and after earth and sky have fled from God's presence (that is, been destroyed: 20:11) that these people will be brought to life, at the great white throne judgment (20:12,13). Furthermore, all of these, whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will be thrown into the lake of fire (20:15), even before the new heavens and earth come into being. Thus, Batchelor is "cutting" verses from one place and "pasting" them into another place. In effect, he is re-writing Chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation by ignoring its clear and simple chronology and imposing his own preferred chronology upon the text.
The fact is, there will be almost countless numbers of people on the earth during the latter part of the Millennium, including the multitudes of unsaved people who will be deceived by Satan at the end of the Millennium. With most of the earth flourishing and thriving under the strict but benevolent rule of Jesus, the Son of God—who will be installed as King in Zion/Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6,7) at the beginning of the Millennium—the population of mortal believers will "sky-rocket" during that prosperous 1,000-year period.
Batchelor even has Jesus coming to this earth, to the Mount of Olives, after the Millennium is over. This is an extreme example of "cutting and pasting," as that event already will have taken place (Zechariah 14:4) prior to the beginning of the Millennium. This will be at the return of Jesus, the Rider on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-13), to rescue Israel from its attackers, after which He will begin to rule on this present earth (19:15), which He will refurbish and renovate.
In Revelation 20:4, the thrones of those who are given authority to judge are not in heaven; they are on the earth. These believers will be resurrected and immortalized; and they will reign with Christ on this earth (5:10), over mortal people, throughout the Millennium. Batchelor says that these resurrected people will merely be "evaluating what is wrong, what is true and what is not." Yet, it says that they will reign with Christ, which means that they will have authority with Christ, over the mortal people of the earth during the ensuing 1,000 years.
During the Millennium, only those mortals who humbly accept the rule and reign of God/Jesus on earth, and who acknowledge that they are undeserving sinners, will be able to enter the pristine and unspoiled heavens and earth that will be created after the Millennium is over (Revelation 12:1,5) and after this present creation has been destroyed (2 Peter 3:10,12). This new heavens and earth will be part of a brand new Creation, out of nothing, and it will be perfect for eternity, never to be spoiled or infected by sin.
Batchelor says, "At the end of the 1,000 years, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, will come down from heaven to this earth." Batchelor gives no scriptural reference for this, and I am unaware of even one version of the Bible that states this. It says very clearly, in Revelation 21:1, that there will be a new heaven and earth because the first heaven and earth will have passed away. Therefore, the New Jerusalem cannot come down onto this earth, which no longer will exist. He does not understand that all of this will be annihilated, and another brand new Creation will take its place.
Once this creation has been destroyed, all of those destined to enter the new Creation will be taken into the new heaven. Then they will descend, in the New Jerusalem, down to the new earth. Very possibly, the New Jerusalem may be in existence now, in the present heaven, and will escape the destruction of this present creation and be brought into the new Creation to come.
Batchelor totally has his chronology twisted around because next he has Satan, all alone, on the old, barren earth watching the New Jerusalem coming down from the new heaven. Yet, in Revelation 20:10, at the end of the Millennium, Satan already will have been tossed into the lake of fire. The only way that Batchelor can get what he wants out of his categorization of Chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation, and to make it fit into his eschatological analysis, is to yank things out of chronological order and to wedge them in where he needs for them to be.
When people rearrange events that plainly and simply are in unambiguous, sequential order (as Chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation definitely are) to suit their belief system, this should cause huge red flags to be raised up in anybody's mind. In fact, SDAs twist things around quite a bit in their "instruction" of the entire book of Revelation—the sequential order of which is relatively straightforward, as can be seen in my Brief Chronology of Revelation.
Now, I want to say a few things about the beginning of the "day of the Lord" period. There are many periods of time, in our lives, where the initial segment is quite different from the remainder of the period. Sometimes the initial segment is better, and sometimes it is worse. For instance, a brand new president's inaugural ball, followed by a few weeks of soaring popularity, often deteriorate into four years of extremely arduous, stressful work and decreasing poll numbers. On the contrary, the initial strenuous, laborious days of planting a vegetable garden usually are followed by weeks, sometimes even months, of productive harvesting and enjoyment of a fruitful crop. The latter is sort of how I believe the "day of the Lord" period will be: a short period of extreme affliction, followed by a thousand years of enjoyment.
I agree with the SDA premise that a "day," to the Lord, can be "like a thousand years" (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). The beginning of the "day of the Lord" period certainly will be dreadful and frightful time on the earth. However, I believe that this initial devastating and calamitous segment, the "day of vengeance," will last only a year. After that, the earth will be a delightful, some places even an enchanting, place to live.
Of course, a "day" in Scripture does not always have to be equivalent to a thousand years. In fact, Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, and 63:4 all seem to indicate that the "day of vengeance" (or "day of wrath") will be a year in length. This makes complete sense, because what it implies is that the seventh (or "sabbatical") year of the 70th Week, of Daniel 9:27, will be set apart from the first six years. This is explained in my short commentary, The Seventh Year.
SDAs acknowledge the importance of the seventh "day." I actually have had some of them email me, after reading that short commentary about the seventh year, and say that this makes more sense to them than anything they've heard before on that topic. This is not necessarily a testimony to the correctness of my view; it is just interesting to note.
As such, I believe that God's terrible, but righteous, wrath and vengeance will be poured out upon the earth for a year of time, at the end of which Jesus' second advent back to earth will take place. This will be followed by the glorious Millennium, when Jesus and transformed believers will rule and reign "with an iron scepter" (Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15), but also with benevolence and compassion, over mortal humans alive on this earth during that time. The earth definitely will not be devoid of people during the Millennium; everybody will not be co-habiting heaven at that time.
Pertaining to "The Two Witnesses" commentary, Doug Batchelor writes clearly, and generally I agree with many of his points about Jesus' transfiguration and those who joined Him from heaven, Moses and Elijah, during this event (Matthew 17:1-8). Most of the teaching from that article I can accept, and he makes some very good points. This was my favorite paragraph, with which I agree wholeheartedly:
The devil is a master at inducing mountaintop amnesia. If you give him just five minutes of your attention, he can make you forget a whole lifetime of miracles. If you entertain his suggestions, if you embrace his discouragement and his doubts, all those mountaintop memories can dissipate just when you need them the most.A point in Batchelor's commentary with which I am in total disagreement, though, is that the "woman" in Revelation 12:1,4,6,13-17 is the "church." I do not accept "replacement theology" at all, and I unswervingly believe that the "woman" in Revelation 12 is representative of a remnant of Israel at the end of the age. My "take" on the "woman" is in the woman section in Part 2 of my Chronology of Revelation commentary.
Furthermore, I do not believe for a moment that God has abandoned His covenant with Israel, nor that they have ceased to be His chosen people. See my God’s Covenant: with Israel or the Church? commemtary and also the following email response:
Batchelor also believes that the 1,260 days, mentioned in Revelation 11:3, are figuratively speaking of the 1,260 years from 538 to 1798 A.D. Again, I adamantly disagree with this view. Because SDAs believe that so much of Revelation already has taken place in the past, they are forced to make literal things, such as days, be symbolic of something else, such as years. I was told the same thing in the SDA seminar I attended years ago. I did not accept this notion then, and I still do not.
He also makes the assumption that Moses and Elijah are in heaven inside of their glorified bodies. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that the bodies of either one of these men were glorified (made imperishable and immortal) before entering heaven. Frankly, nobody knows if they were glorified or not. SDAs have to say that they were to fit into their belief system, which includes the assertion that the literal Moses and Elijah will not return to earth, prophesy for 1,260 days, be killed, and then be resurrected after 3½ days (Revelation 11:3,11).
I do not know for certain if the two witnesses, during the final half (1,260 days) of the 70th Week, will be the literal Moses and Elijah, or two men with the "spirit" of the Law and Prophecy (which these two men had), or someone else. (For instance, John the Baptist went forth in the spirit and power of Elijah—Matthew 11:14; Luke 1:17). In any case, I absolutely do believe that the prophecy of Revelation 11:1-13 has yet to take place during the 1,260 days prior to Jesus' second advent to earth, which will take place in conjunction with the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet (11:15-18).
SDAs, as well as many other Christians, believe in a "young-earth" creation, about 4004 B.C. On the contrary, I am a resolute believer in an "old-earth" creation of the universe about 13.7 billion years ago and the earth about 4.56 billion years ago. My reasons for believing this are explained in my two-part commentary, The Creation.Batchelor states that "date setting is prohibited in the Bible." The author of the second commentary, "The Secret Rapture," is Joe Crews, an SDA writer who presumably would agree with what Bathelor has said about "date setting." I know it commonly is believed, by many (including most denominations that are not SDA), that date-setting of end-time Bible events is "prohibited." As such, they believe that there is no way, at all, to predict the timing of the second coming of Jesus.
Yet, in Daniel 9:25, Daniel wrote about when the first coming of the Anointed One, at the end of 69 weeks of years, could be expected. It was very precise. In fact, it was the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, on Palm Sunday. This was shown, in Luke 19:41-44, when Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the people had not recognized the timing of His coming to them (prophesied in Daniel 9:25). Because of their manifest imperceptiveness, their enemies (the Romans) would ferociously attack them and destroy their city, in 70 A.D.
Likewise, the timing of Jesus' second coming will be "missed" by most of those at the end of the age. As stated before, SDAs believe that the prophesied seven years in Daniel 9:27 already have taken place. Again, I adamantly disagree with this viewpoint. Although Daniel's people (9:24), Israel, never had entered into a seven-year agreement with anyone, they did do so, in October 2006, when they were the first non-European nation to sign onto the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument: Israel is just one of the many EU/Israel documents within the ENP agreement. Although it may not be the prophesied seven-year agreement of Daniel 9:27, it very possibly could be a precursor to it.
When formulating ideas and theories about Bible topics, including prophecy, a teacher needs to to lay down a foundation of "solid rock." Then, upon that foundation, he can build a meticulous structure of other beliefs and views that naturally follow and make sense.
A big problem arises, however, when the foundational assumption is incorrect (that is, the foundation is made of "sand"), because then anything built upon that weak foundation (or upon other things that are built upon that foundation) are in danger of collapsing. I will give you one example (though there are countless). I will use the passage Matthew 24:30,31, which was mentioned in the second commentary, "The Secret Rapture."
First of all, many "teachers" lay down the foundation that there will be one, single catching up event (rapture) of believers. However, I believe that this foundation is made out of "sand" and that there are going to be multiple rapture events. "Pre-tribbers" build an adjacent, equally weak foundation to this one, insisting that the only rapture will be seven years prior to Jesus' second advent back to earth. "Post-tribbers" also build an adjacent fragile foundation, insisting that the only rapture will be on the day Jesus returns to earth, at the very end of the age.
Now, let's look at Matthew 24:30,31:
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31—NIV)"Pre-tribbers," having made the (incorrect) assumption that the rapture already will have occurred by that point, are forced to say that this is the second advent of Jesus, back to earth, at the end of the final seven years. "Post-tribbers," also having made the (incorrect) assumption that there is only one rapture, are forced to say that this is both the rapture event and the second advent of Jesus to earth, at the same time. Both are wrong because their original, flawed foundational belief of one single rapture is composed of "sand."
Note that nowhere in these two verses does it state, nor even imply, that the Son of Man, Jesus, is returning to earth at that time. The verses only show Him in the clouds of the sky, and His angels are gathering His elect believers to be with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Now, look at the verse immediately preceding these two verses:
...the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29—NIV)Notice that this is a direct parallel to events that will occur immediately after the opening of the Sixth Seal in Revelation:
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. ... The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. (Revelation 6:12,13)Many "pre-tribbers" and "post-tribbers" will acknowledge that whatever the event is in Matthew 24:30,31, it will take place soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal in Revelation. They both also will insist that this will take place at the very end of the final seven years (or, as SDAs phrase it, at the end of the age). However, since this "building block" is set on top of a very flimsy foundation, the entire teaching that is being constructed is in danger of collapsing.
The glaring problem is that the Sixth Seal will not be opened at the very end of the final seven years (end of the age). We know this because there will be yet one more seal, the Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1), remaining to be opened. Following the opening of the Seventh Seal, there will be seven trumpet judgments (with the fifth one, alone, lasting five months—9:5,10). Jesus' second advent to earth, to rule and reign, will not happen until the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet (11:15-18). All of it is very sequential and chronological, with no messy gaps nor "parenthetical sections" being "cut" and "pasted" into other sections.
The writer of that commentary and other "post-tribbers" point to Jesus' coming in Revelation 14:14 to harvest the earth (14:16). This is a depiction of Jesus' second advent, and it is a "post-tribulation" rapture event. We know that Jesus will return to earth at that point, since He next will trample the "great winepress of God's wrath" (14:19,20). However, notice that in this passage it is Jesus who will reap the harvest of believers (14:16); whereas, in the Matthew 24:30,31 rapture event, it is the angels who will gather the elect believers. These are two completely separate rapture events, which I believe will be separated by about a year: the Seventh Year.
I have brought these things to the attention of both "pre-tribbers" and "post-tribbers" alike. Some of them will acknowledge that these facts are inescapable and have switched to my view—that Matthew 24:30,31 is a depiction of the "pre-wrath" rapture. At that time, Jesus will be seen, on His throne in the sky, by the whole world, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:15,16). It is only then, after Jesus has removed His elect believers, that God's wrath and vengeance will be imminent; and this wrath/vengeance will commence immediately upon the opening of the Seventh Seal, lasting for about a year.
After viewing the opening of the Sixth Seal, John wrote that the "day" of God's wrath will have come (Revelation 6:17), which I equate with the year-long "day of vengeance" (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, and 63:4), as I have described previously. However, "post-tribbers" (including SDAs) insist that this "day" is a 24-hour period—the very day on which Jesus will return. I am convinced that they are wrong.
I have had steadfast, die-hard "pre-tribbers" and "post-tribbers" email me and say that, to get around my deductions and conclusions, all they need to do is to rearrange the order of some of the end-time events in Revelation, and then everything will "fit." Of course, when one messes with the proper chronology and sequencing of the book of Revelation, one is "playing with fire," besides the fact that everything after that becomes convoluted and warped out of its true shape. (See my lengthy three-part commentary, The Chronology of Revelation.)
Most people would rather let someone else tell them what things in the Bible mean. On the contrary, I have spent over two decades reading the Bible from cover to cover several times, which is the best thing that you can do to understand it. That is, it is optimal to observe for yourself how everything, from beginning to end, relates and links up. I also have been open-minded enough to examine all points of view about many topics. Even if a view is wrong, there still may be something of value to glean from it. It has taken a great deal of time and effort, but it has been worth every minute and has paid off with dividends.
When I see that the "foundation" and "building blocks" about a certain view are shaky, I try to understand why. Then I move on to find a better structure built on a more solid foundation. Just because a group of people, such as SDAs, claim that they have a "more sure word" in everything they believe, it doesn't necessarily mean that they do. If you are not open to other ideas, and are not willing to put varying ideas together into a sensible perspective about a certain topic or issue, then you simply will be content with embracing notions that you want to believe, whether they are true or not.
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