In the chapters dealing specifically with The Tribulation, The Revelation almost appeared to miss the return of Christ altogether, as though it assumed readers already knew about it. When describing the seven trumpets, it concluded, "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound [his trumpet], the mystery of God will be finished, as he has declared to his servants the prophets." (Revelation 10:7

That's all. Just "the mystery of God... finished".

 

The Apostle Paul spoke of this "mystery" as a time when true believers will become immortal. He said, "Behold, I show you a mystery. We... will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible. We will be changed. This corruptible [body] must put on incorruption. And this mortal [body] must put on immortality." (I Corinthians 15:51-53)

 

In the Gospels, Jesus spoke of the mystery as a time when he would return to gather together his true followers. He said, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days... will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. Then will all the tribes of the earth... see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. He will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:29-31)

 

When Jesus ascended up to heaven, forty days after he rose from the dead, two angels appeared and said to the disciples who witnessed this great event, "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11)

 

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul again described the return of Christ. He said, "We which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord will not prevent those who are asleep [i.e. dead]. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." (I Thessalonians 4:15-17)

 

But The Revelation doesn't mention this when referring to the seventh trumpet. Instead, it goes into descriptions of various aspects of the Tribulation, i.e. the Two Witnesses (chapter 11), the Church in the Wilderness (chapter 12), the Beast, False Prophet, and Mark (chapter 13), and the Prostitute (chapters 17 and 18). Chapter 14 was a transition chapter before the seven vials of the Wrath were described in chapters 15 and 16.

 

It is not until chapter 19 that we see the triumph of Christ's return. There John describes the picture he gets of the Wrath from a heavenly perspective. There is no mention of the suffering taking place back on earth. Instead, there is only rejoicing and celebration at the "marriage supper of the Lamb". Those Christians who have remained true to the Lamb throughout the Tribulation, whether victims or survivors, are honoured as his "Bride" at this great wedding feast. They all turn up for the party with immortal bodies, and dressed in "fine linen, clean and white". (Revelation 19:8-9)

 

All of this is happening at the same time that the vials are being poured out on the earth down below. Such suffering does not touch those who faithfully endured tribulation for Christ.

 

Then Jesus appears on a white horse (Revelation 19:11), and the armies of heaven follow him as he rides off to "tread out the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:14-15) Then follows a description of the Battle of Armageddon, and the capture of the Beast and False Prophet. (Revelation 19:17-21)

 

What happens during the Wrath, back on earth, is, in some ways, similar to what happened during the Tribulation. As each vial is poured out, a new judgment is revealed: (1) A "noisome and grievous sore" strikes everyone left on earth. (2) All life in the oceans is killed. (3) The rivers turn to "blood". (4) All our worst fears about the depletion of the ozone layer become reality, as the sun "scorches men with great heat". (5) Great darkness fills the "seat of the Beast" (Jerusalem?) And (6) the "kings of the east" join with the rest of "the kings of the earth... to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." The seventh vial is the battle itself. (Revelation 16:1-21)

 

The Bible says of that battle: "Great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." (Revelation 16:19) This is consistent with our theory that, even though the ten horns had earlier helped the Beast to destroy Babylon in the form of America, the role and title of Babylon would be passed on to the Beast, until the spirit of Babylon is finally and utterly destroyed at Armageddon.

 

The Bible goes on to tell of Christ ruling the earth for a thousand years after the Battle of Armageddon, assisted by his followers, who will have immortal bodies by this time. (Revelation 20:2-4)

 

What we have here is not the traditional picture of angels playing harps and floating on clouds for the rest of eternity. Instead, it is a real world populated by imperfect mortals who have survived the Battle of Armageddon. They will be ruled over by followers of the Lamb.

 

Christ had, on several occasions, talked of his followers ruling over or judging cities or tribes when he comes to establish his kingdom on earth. (Matthew 24:44-47; 25:21; Luke 22:29-30) It appears that we will be doing just that. We will be given a chance to show the world how it should have been done when the Beast was running things. That thought in itself should provide plenty of food for thought to those of us who are critical of governments that now run the world.

 

Ask yourselves, "How would I do it?" Think seriously about your answer, because, if you decide to give your life to the Lamb, you may one day have an opportunity to do it just as you have thought about doing it now.

 

Of course it will only be possible because the Devil will be locked up for a thousand years. When he is freed "for a little season" at the end of the thousand years, the troubles start all over again. But, as we said earlier, that's another story.

 
*For more information related to this article, please see the following video: Bro. Dave Ch. #23 - The Rapture After The Great Tribulation

Appendix, Chapter 25

 

Revelation 19:7-9, 11, 14-15, 17-21. The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints... Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb... I saw heaven opened and behold, a white horse, and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war... The armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God... I saw an angel... saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all, both free and bond, both small and great." I saw the Beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse and against his army. The Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet... which deceived them that had received the Mark of the Beast... These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth.

 

Revelation 20:2-4. He laid hold on the Dragon, that old serpent which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years... that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled, and after that he must be loosed a little season. I saw thrones and they sat on them and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of them... which had not... received the mark on their foreheads or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

 

Revelation 16:2-4, 8, 10. 12-17, 19. The first poured out his vial on the earth and there fell a noisome and grievous sore on those which had the Mark of the Beast... The second angel poured out his vial on the sea, and it became as the blood of a dead man, and every living soul died in the sea. The third angel poured out his vial on the rivers and fountains of waters, and they became blood... The fourth angel poured out his vial on the sun, and power was given to it to scorch people with fire. The fifth angel poured out his vial on the seat of the beast, and his kingdom was full of darkness... The sixth angel poured out his vial on the great River Euphrates, and the water dried up, that the way of the kings of the East might be prepared. I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet... which go forth to the kings of the earth... to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty... And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon... And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

 

Matthew 24:44-47. Be ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man comes. Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord has made ruler over his household...? Blessed is that servant... He will make him ruler over all his goods.

 

Matthew 25:21. His Lord said to him, "Well done, faithful servant. I will make you ruler over many things."

 

Luke 22:29-30. I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me, that you may... sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."