When looking at the entire great Week, the 2,000 years of the Church Age are Days 5 and 6. Jesus referred to these same two great Days as Today and Tomorrow, followed by our Third Day Perfection (resurrection). He focused our attention on the last Days only since they impact His Body the most.
When Jesus taught about the rapture for the first time, He likewise focused on Today and Tomorrow. He described the signs we would see during the two Days, including the final sign that would signal the end of this age (the six Days of mankind).
Matthew 24:3-14 lists the signs: wars, rumors of war, nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, lawlessness abounding, the love of many growing cold, persecution, false christs and false religions. Jesus reveals this same list in the vision He gave John in the book of Revelation. They parallel the first five trumpets of Revelation 6. Notice in both cases these troubles and tribulations extend across the entire Church Age. So does the outpouring of God’s Spirit that enables us to overcome these trials!
Jesus affirms the extended nature of these tribulations in Matthew 24:29, when He gives us the final sign of the end of this age. He begins with, “immediately after the tribulation of those Days.” Then He describes what shall follow to signal the end. “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Unlike the blood moons and solar and lunar eclipses, the final sign will bring total darkness everywhere on earth. There’s no missing this sign!
What He says will happen next confirms the timing even further—it is when Christ appears at the sound of the trumpet to gather His Body, His Bride (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The rapture comes as the 7th Day dawns. It is the Appointed Day, the Age to Come, and Christ’s Millennial Reign.
The bottom line is this: The Church has always existed in the tribulation. We need not fear a future great tribulation. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:37 that in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. As Christ’s Body and Bride, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11).
Jesus’ anointing for ministry marked the early Days of God’s prophetic great Week from the last Days. Jesus’ death and resurrection marked the shift from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. Just before His death, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples (John 14:1-4).
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Notice He tells His disciples—then and now—not to let our hearts be troubled. How is that possible when we see the accumulated effect of darkness from the Fall and the falling away? He tells us in verses 16, 17, and 26 of the same chapter.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
This is the outpouring of the Spirit that began on the feast of Pentecost and continues through the Church Age. The Bible calls this the former rains (Joel 2:23). It is the baptism of the Spirit that empowers us to not only resist the darkness of these last Days, but to be witnessesto the love and power of Christ. It is this anointing that enables us to continue Jesus’ work of teaching, preaching, casting out unclean spirits, and releasing healing.
This is our job description known as the Great Commission. Mark’s Gospel ends with these words:
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
These signs and wonders show people God’s goodness, and it is this goodness that draws people to repentance (Romans 2:4). Hopeless, anxiety-ridden, fearful, and hurting people need the touch of God and the peace that comes from receiving the Prince of Peace—Jesus Christ—as their Lord. This is the most important sign we should be seeing as this age comes to a close.
The Apostle Paul understood the times and seasons. In 2 Thess. 2:1-8 he gives us clear signs about the times we are living in, which include the “falling away.”
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
There’s a lot here, so let’s make sure we see the key points.
Until this appointed time, we need to be lights, exhibiting the power and love of God that draws hopeless, hurting people to the saving power of Christ Jesus. When we gather next, we will look at other signs that mark this age.