by Bill Perkins
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they're here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be.
There's a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
Most people near my age bracket know well the words above to the song “Yesterday,” penned by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. I remember well these pagan lyrics from my pre-Christian days. They came to mind recently as I researched some Bible prophecy verses that specifically mentioned that the Rapture would come “suddenly,” without warning.
Were John Lennon’s Words Prophetic?
The “Yesterday” lyrics could be an unintentional but interestingly prophetic description of the post-Rapture scenario. People will long for “yesterday.”
Think how the world will be absolutely dumbfounded by the sudden dramatic change when the Rapture happens–-most will go from comfy surroundings to unimaginable horror—in a split second. Normal and routine suddenly change to sheer panic and total confusion.
In all probability, due to the electromagnetic polarity of the earth being temporarily disrupted, electricity will cease to work. This means cars and phones won’t work, planes will fall from the sky and communication will be limited, at least for a while, to how far you can holler or walk.
So many things taken for granted, like food and water, will suddenly no longer be easily obtainable—even if you have money, gold, or silver. The scale of disruption is unimaginable. And it all begins suddenly when most least expect it.
Most miss John the Revelator’s warning
John began the Book of Revelation with a warning of how this period would suddenly begin. But because of the way a word was translated to English, we usually miss the warning. Revelation 1:1 begins with some wording that is a bit awkward:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; NASB
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; RSV
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. NKJV
This is a revelation from[fn] Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon[fn] take place. NLT
When you first read that verse, unless you’re a Greek scholar, it sounds like John is saying the events he’s about to describe will begin soon. This is an obvious problem since it’s been some 2000 years since it was written.
But the Greek word translated here simply doesn’t mean “soon.” John was not saying the events would be happening in the near future. The actual Greek word translated “soon” is tachos (from which we get the English word "tachometer"). Consider the definition:
tachos, takh´-os; a brief space (of time)
The NLT has a reference after the word “soon” that says:
“1:1b Or suddenly, rapidly, or quickly.”
Obviously the NLT should not be used as a study Bible as it’s a paraphrase, not a word-for-word translation. Trust me, for a Bible, you want to know what God said, not what someone thinks He said. So a word-for-word translation is always preferred when studying God’s Word, like the KJV, NKJV, or NASB.
But used as a commentary, the NLT corrected noted ("fn") that the word translated “soon” or “shortly” is unique and means "taking place suddenly, in a brief space of time."
So Rev. 1:1 could very easily be translated:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must suddenly take place;
The same idea is hidden in a Rapture-related verse that most prophecy lovers know well, which was written about non-Christians:
"For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they [non-Christians] are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." 1Thes. 5:2-3
The word “destruction” (or “ruin”) should actually be translated “sudden destruction.” The NASB Greek Notes has the alternative translation listed:
1Or sudden destruction
2Lit comes upon
Therefore the phrase could (should?) be translated:
“...then, suddenly, destruction comes upon them...”
So the Bible clearly teaches us that the end of the Church Age comes suddenly, without warning to the world. Do you think if the Rapture were to happen this year it would suddenly catch most of the world off guard?
Oh wow would it! Imagine a hungry, Holy Spirit-less world, dealing with the food distribution problems in Rev. 6:6. Not good.
So just how bad are the post-Rapture events?
I wince when I hear mid-trib Bible teachers trying to explain that Christians are only exempted from the “Wrath of God” and claim that Wrath only comes in the second half of the Tribulation. That has to be one of the dumbest arguments of all time.
Consider just these five events (of many) that will begin happening suddenly, without warning, and continue in the FIRST three and a half years of the 7-Year Tribulation:
1) World war. Rev. 6:4
2) 1/4 of earth killed by famine, pestilence, and wild beasts. Rev. 6:8
3) 1/3 of earth is burned by fire from heaven. Rev. 8:7
4) 1/3 of the fish in the sea die. Rev. 8:9
5) 1/3 of remaining people on earth die. Rev. 9:18
That last 1/3 of the world dying is in addition to those dying in Rev. 6:8—so a total of 50% of the world’s population dies! There are 7 billion people on the planet today. Assuming Rapture takes out one billion (probably a generously high estimate), then an astonishing 3 billion people will die in the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation.
Yet, it does get worse in the second 3 1/2 year period. The Bible says God’s Bowls of Wrath are then poured out with such unbelievable destruction that it ends with an earthquake so large that the mountains around the world fall flat and the islands disappear! That’s unimaginable!
“And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Rev. 16:20
So to say the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation aren’t that bad is ludicrous. And all of this comes suddenly, without warning, for most people on the planet.
But, believe it or not, there’s one essential characteristic of the first 3 1/2 years of Tribulation in which you could be directly involved. There’s something you could do today that might affect those living into the Tribulation. Interested? Read on….
Here are the facts: There will be millions upon millions who’ll get saved after the Rapture and during the Tribulation. There are scores of references to Jesus and the Gospel in the Tribulation. It’s a pretty simple choice: Choose Jesus and probably die on the earth but live forever in heaven. Or choose Satan and live on the earth but eventually be cast into hell forever.
MULTITUDES will choose Jesus. There are so many people who get saved during that time that the Bible says they’re uncountable!
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;” Rev. 7:9
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’…’These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” Rev. 7:13-14
“They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;” Rev. 7:16
No doubt, of all these getting saved in the Tribulation, many will have had knowledge of Jesus before the Rapture but never believed the Gospel. There’ll be people who missed the Rapture who will immediately KNOW WHY THEY MISSED IT. They’ll get saved by faith during the Tribulation and become bold warriors for the truth.
These have a second chance to believe the Gospel, much like many who got saved at the last second when Noah’s flood waters began rising. They immediately knew they were wrong not to listen to Noah’s warnings. So they called out to the Lord before they drowned, much like the thief on the cross.
Those saved will not believe the monstrous lie being perpetrated about what happened to all those disappearing people at the Rapture. They heard about the possibility of Rapture but didn’t believe at the time. And when the Rapture happened, they became Believers and will be great witnesses for the truth.
“Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many;…” Dan. 11:33a
“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Dan. 12:3
It’ll be a terrible time, but these saved-by-faith Tribulation Christians will be saved from eternal punishment in hell, even though they will endure temporary pain and/or death during the Tribulation.
When the New World Leader first shows up, he’ll explain away the Rapture with a bold lie. Those who believe this unspecified lie do not get saved.
“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2Thes. 2:8-12
But the Tribulation Christians don’t believe the World Leader’s lie. They won’t have the Holy Spirit indwelling them but they’ll be motivated to “Live for Jesus” and “die for gain.” We wrote an article detailing the mass evangelism during the first 3 1/2 years of Tribulation. You can read it HERE.
A Challenge For You Personally
So, here’s an idea for you to pray about. Hang with me here. The Rapture will catch only non-Christians by surprise but will NOT catch Believers by surprise:
“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they [non-Believers] are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren [Believers], are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 1Thes. 5:2-5
So discerning Christians, like you, can see when Rapture’s getting close. I’m convinced that regardless of the year, the Rapture will happen on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish Feast that is celebrated in the fall each year(1). And there are a LOT of Christians thinking this could very well be the year.
I am NOT predicting Rapture will happen this September. In fact, it probably will not happen this year—but it certainly could. And if it did, it’s all over for Believer's human existence on this planet. We’ll get our new bodies like Jesus received after His resurrection (Phil. 3:20-21). But everyone left behind is in a real mess. So I would like to leave a few messages of instruction—just in case!
This is our booklet of instructions for those who miss the Rapture. If you’ve never seen this unique booklet, CLICK HERE to view it.
If the Rapture happens this year, we’ll have left behind a lot of instructions for those “on the ground” worldwide. Just one of those instruction booklets could be used by God to keep someone from believing the “lie.” And maybe be used to reach many others.
We're Not Date Setting!
As I said, and don’t miss this fact, the Rapture is probably NOT going to happen this year. And we're not date-setting. In all probability we could be mailing some again next year. And the next. So we can’t go crazy and empty the coffers.
But with all that’s going on around us, it seems better to be proactive and leave a little truth on the ground around the world, just in case it suddenly happens. And if it does, it could be a life-saver for a lot of those left behind!
(1) Compass Article, "Is Rapture in September?"
Please note that scripture with bold and/or underline is added for emphasis.
© 2018 Compass Int’l, Inc.
Bill and Susie Perkins founded Compass International, Inc. in 1993 as a non-profit, non- denominational ministry. For information on Compass’ Steeling the Mind Bible Conferences, Good Morning Lord! Bible studies, books, DVDs and Biblelands Trips and Cruises, go to compass.org
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