Hey. My name is Matt. I'm writing this near the end of August in the year 2000. I just turned twenty-four years old. You are reading this because recently a lot of people vanished from the face of the earth. Perhaps their clothes and jewelry just fell to the ground, their bodies disappearing without a trace. I'm sure you are wondering what happened, why it happened, and can it happen again. You're reading this because you were not one of them. You are one of the people remaining on the earth. I'm writing this because I'm one of those who disappeared, and I want you to know why.
Some of this will not be easy to read, some truth never is. It may be hard to accept, some truth always seems to be. However, it is the truth, and my disappearance is a testimony to that fact. Not only that, but it may surprise you to know that what happened has been prophesied for millennia. It's my obligation, in writing this letter, to let you know what happened, why it happened, and what's in store. It's my hope that you read this with an open mind, examine it for what it says, and think really hard about the ramifications.
First things first. Depending on how much time has passed since the sudden disappearance of millions, you may have heard several theories as to why. I'm sure the scientific community will try to come up with something. Perhaps some will even subscribe to an alien abduction theory. Those are simply not true.
Also, it's my belief that from the time of the disappearances the earth as you know it only has a limited amount of time remaining. At least seven years, perhaps a few more.
If you haven't figured it out by now, let me go ahead and tell you what happened. Have you ever heard the term "rapture"? Well that's what has happened. Rapture means "snatched away." The rapture is a term Christians have used to describe God's calling up of His believers to Heaven. You may be asking yourself, "Wasn't Jesus supposed to come back when this happened?" Well, not exactly. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is imminent, but not for at least another seven years. The rapture, the disappearance of millions, was a prelude to that. In 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, the apostle Paul states that "...we (Christians) will not all sleep, but we will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised, imperishable, and we will be changed."
Those who were alive and genuinely believed in Jesus Christ were the ones who disappeared. They didn't die, but they were changed. Their physical bodies are no longer here on earth. They are in Heaven. Furthermore, those who believed in Jesus since the founding of the Church nearly two thousand years ago but died were also taken. You may find that some caskets buried in cemeteries are now empty.
Before I continue, it's important that you know more about Jesus. He is the most important part of this. I'm sure you've heard of Him, but maybe have no clue as to who He really is. Well, to understand the rest of this letter, it's imperative you understand who He is. So if you have one, I recommend you pull out a Bible. I will reference it for the duration of this letter. You will find it helpful.
Quite simply, Jesus is the Son of God; God in the form of a man. About two thousand years ago, God sent Him to earth to die for everyone's sins. He is the Messiah that many Jews are still looking for today. Unfortunately they missed Him the first time, as did you. The good news is that you all have a second chance.
There are over one hundred prophecies concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament, books of the Bible all written at least four hundred years before Jesus was born. The first chapter of the book of the Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, goes through a genealogy, a family tree as it were, of Jesus. In fact, the very first verse of Matthew calls Jesus the Messiah "the son of David, the son of Abraham."
Genesis is the first book of the Bible, written well over a thousand years before the birth of Christ. However, in that book (Genesis 12:3, 18:18) God says that through Abraham all the families of the earth shall be blessed, a reference to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus coming from the lineage of David, the king of Israel, is foretold in Psalm 132:11, as well as in Isaiah 11:10, Jeremiah 23:5, and Jeremiah 33:15, all Old Testament references. There are also prophecies (Numbers 24:17) that the Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Jesus was (Matthew 1:2). All written at least hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.
Need more proof that Jesus is the Messiah? Isaiah 7:14 (Old Testament) tells us that the Messiah will be born of a virgin. Matthew 1:18-25 (New Testament) details how Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. It's prophesied in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1 says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Chapters 52 and 53 of Isaiah contain prophecies concerning the crucifixion of Jesus. Each of the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), also called The Gospels, contain details concerning the Jesus' crucifixion. I suggest reading the nineteenth chapter of John. Also read about His resurrection on the third day, also prophesied in the Old Testament.
But you need to know why Jesus was crucified. If it was prophesied for centuries before it happened, why did it happen? Why did it have to happen? Before you know that, you need to realize something. Even though you were left behind, God loves you. God loves you as much as He loves those He took to Heaven. In fact, one of the most famous verses of the Bible speaks of God's love:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
God loves the world... everybody. So God loves you, but that still doesn't really answer the question of why you were left behind. Why weren't you raptured? Well, quite simply, God sent Jesus to die for your sins, but you didn't believe in Him, and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. Let me tell you why you needed to do that.
- You're A Sinner - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
I sinned, you sinned. Everyone has sinned, except for Jesus. He was, is, and always will be God. We aren't God, so we fall short of Him.
- Because You're A Sinner, You Deserve To Die - "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
Because we have all sinned we all deserve to die, but God sent Jesus as a free gift. He took our place on that cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf..." I'll discuss the second half of that first in a moment. Because Jesus was sinless, perfect, He didn't deserve to die. However, we did. But He died for us so we don't have to. God can't permit sin into Heaven, so for us to be able to spend be with God in Heaven, a way needed to be provided so we might be made righteous. The second half of that verse, 2 Corinthians 5:21: "... so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Since Jesus took the place of our sin, we are made righteous; therefore we can be with God. That's a free gift of eternal life. So why the gift?
- God Loves You - "But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
We didn't deserve it, but God loves us so much that even though we are sinners, even though we live 2000 years after Christ died, He still died for us. No matter who you are and no matter what you've done, God loves you. That's ultimate, unconditional love.
- Confess And Believe - "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9; "for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13
You've got to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that God sent Him to die in your place. You have to earnestly receive Him as your Lord and Savior, and confess it with your mouth. You can't be ashamed of it. Part of really believing it is making it known.
- Remember, Jesus is the only way - "...I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me." John 14:6
No matter what anyone else might tell you, the Word of God is clear. There is no other way to Heaven, no other way to experience eternal life with God. Jesus is the answer... the only answer.
If you want to become a Christian, I'm going to give you the chance right now. Maybe you don't even need to read the rest. Maybe you're already convinced that Jesus is for real. Perhaps you knew people who were Christians that are gone. Well, if you want to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can do it right now. Pray this prayer with all your heart.
"Lord, I am a sinner. I confess to you that I am not worthy of the gift you've given me. I believe that you sent Your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins. I don't deserve that, but I recognize that You love me and that Jesus is the only way. Thank you for that gift. I also believe that You have power over death. I believe that You can give me eternal life because I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead. I recognize that You are the one and only God. I commit my life to You. Please be my Lord and Savior. I know now that You love me. I love You, too, Lord. Thank You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."
If you prayed that and meant it, you are a Christian. I congratulate you and am excited for you. I praise the Lord for your decision. The Bible says that angels rejoice when someone invites Jesus Christ into their life, so rest assured that if you did pray that prayer there's a party going on in Heaven. If you didn't pray that prayer, I continue to pray that you will make a decision for Christ. Rest assured, everyone will make a decision about Christ, either to accept Him or reject Him, but I pray you make the right one. The rest of this will not be easy to read, whether you are a Christian or not. However, rest assured that if you are a Christian, this thing has a happy ending.
You may be thinking, "How can a God that loves so much leave people behind?" Well, God is not only loving, but He is also just. He is the one true God, and He will not tolerate sin. He will not put up with people worshipping anything but Him. He loves you, but you have to make the choice to love Him and serve Him.
The rapture was not only meant to gather up Christians into Heaven, but it was also meant to get the world's attention. In fact, the next seven years or so God is going to pull out all the stops in an effort to get people to recognize that He is the one true God.
The sad thing is, if you were left behind, chances are you will not survive the next seven years or so. They will be, by far, the most tumultuous years in the history of the planet. You may think, "Well it certainly sounds like God is out to get me." That's not the case at all. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." To repent means to turn away, in this case turn away from sin. This is your chance to do just that. The remainder of your time on the earth as we know it will not be easy. This is God's way of getting across His message to those who didn't believe in Him before the rapture.
Let's review what the rapture is.
Rapture means "snatched away," and it's the term Christians use to describe the event Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. "...We (Christians) will not all sleep, but we will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised, imperishable, and we will be changed."
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
This is the rapture, the disappearance of God's people from the earth. Just remember that you have a second chance to become one of God's people.
In describing the last days, the apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 that "the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." He's referring to the rapture.
You may have heard stories about the last days, wondering why Jesus didn't come back like so many people said He would. Well, that's going to happen at the end of this seven-year period I've alluded to. Ever since Christ ascended into Heaven following His resurrection (Acts 1:9), Christians have been eagerly anticipating His return. The rapture was the first part of that. It was the part that had to occur like a thief in the night, out of nowhere. Jesus Himself said that no man would know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). Jesus told people to be ready for it in Matthew 24:44 because it would happen unexpectedly. You have to admit that you were taken by surprise!
So what happens next?
I'm not going to dance around the truth. To put it bluntly, you're going to be experience seven years of hell on earth. Many extraordinary things are going to happen soon, or are perhaps already happening. Before we really get into that, lets go over some of what Jesus Himself said about the end times. Turn your Bible, if you have one, to Matthew 24.
- Wars and rumors of war (verse 6): As I write this in the summer of 2000, I go to the major news web sites every day and hear about skirmishes in India and Pakistan, China's threats of Taiwan and the United States, impending war between Israel and the Palestinians, not to mention the myriad wars that don't even get ink in the U.S.
- Nation will rise against nation, kingdom will rise against kingdom (verse 7): The Greek translation of the word nation here in "ethnos," referring to an ethnic group or race. I find that especially interesting in today's world climate. The situation in Bosnia and other Slavic nations is just one example of this, with all of the ethnic fighting going on.
- Famines and earthquakes (verse 7): Over the last twenty years we've heard a lot about famines in Africa. There seems to be an earthquake of at least six on the Richter scale somewhere in the world every other week.
- Christians will be hated, even killed (verse 9): Christians aren't killed in the U.S. like they are in some other parts of the world, but liberal groups, Hollywood and the media in particular, hate them. However, I read just the other day about a religious war in Indonesia where hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians have been killed. Christians are also killed frequently in the Middle East and African nations.
- Many will fall away, hate and betray one another (verse 10): There is a lot of division in the Church, even as I write this. I can only imagine how much worse it has gotten. Many have abandoned their Bible-based beliefs in the name of tolerance. Many have abandoned their Christian beliefs in the liberal belief that all truths and faiths are relative and equal. Christians are hated, looked at as dogmatic, intolerant exclusivists.
- Many false prophets will arise (verse 11): This is happening with more frequency as I write this. Take David Koresh and the 1993 Waco standoff for example. Sadly, there are even some false prophets masquerading today on television as Christians.
- Excessive lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold (verse 12): Crime is rampant. Apathy is the norm.
Even as I write this, I feel the climate is right for the rapture, and the events after the rapture. There is no really strong government in the world anymore. For most of the century the United States was looked at as the superpower. It still is, but the sphere of influence my country's government once had is shrinking. This is due to incapable leadership and godlessness. The political weather is right for a major government shake-up.
Perhaps this is already happening to some extent, depending on how long after the disappearances you read this, but the entire world is about to be united under one government. And you need to be on the lookout for a dynamic new leader who the world will look at as perfect, the man to solve the world's problems. The Bible calls this man Antichrist, and many scholars believe, including I, that he will be of some sort of Roman descent. The Bible says that Antichrist will come from the people who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman Empire.
Antichrist will rise to power quickly, so fast you may not have heard of him before it happens. He will be immensely popular. He will continue to make waves as his new one-world government signs some sort of seven-year pact with the nation of Israel. The only real specific concerning the details of this agreement is that Israel is promised peace.
The signing of this seven-year agreement will signify the beginning of this period I've talked about. You may have heard of it before: the tribulation. These will be the most horrific years in the history of the planet. Three-fourths of the population that did not disappear will die before the end of the tribulation. Think about that. Seventy-five percent of, three out of four, people will be gone. This period will not be easy, but since you did not receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior before the rapture, you have to go through this. You may not live through it. In fact, if you are a Christian now, the chances of you living through it are even slimmer. But before I really get into what will happen during this seven years, let me tell you what will happen at the end of it.
When the seven years is over, this will happen: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war... And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.'" (Revelation 19:11, 16)
Any time you see the word "He" capitalized it's referring to God... Jesus. This is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When the seven-year tribulation is over Jesus will return physically to earth to set up a kingdom. He will rid the world of Satan and Antichrist during that time. You may have heard references to the millennial kingdom. That's what this is. This period of history, the greatest ever on earth, will last for one thousand years, before Satan is gone for good.
Another thing. Once Jesus has returned to set up His millennial kingdom, you will have had to make a decision about Him. That's what these next seven years are for. Any doubt about whether or not there is a God will be removed. People who haven't decided one way or the other about Jesus Christ will have to make a decision to follow Him or deny Him. I implore you, if you haven't already prayed the prayer I outlined earlier to do so. You do not want to endure these seven years without Jesus!
So what happens during the tribulation? Well, I've already pointed out that Antichrist will rise to power and be the leader of a new world government. Revelation is the last book of the New Testament, the last book of the Bible. A man named John, who was also one of Jesus' twelve apostles, wrote it. The book is a written account of a vision of the future given to John by the Lord Himself back in the late first century A.D.
In the first verse of chapter four, John sees a door open up in heaven, and a voice tells him to "Come up here." I believe this is symbolic of the rapture. Others might disagree with my assessment of this verse, but since you are only reading this if I was right, and the rapture occurred before the time of tribulation, I think it's symbolic of God removing His people, the Church, the true believers, in this case symbolized by John, from the earth before the tribulation begins.
The tribulation is divided into three separate sets of seven judgments: (1) the seal judgments, (2) the trumpet judgments, and (3) the bowl (or vial) judgments. These judgments get progressively worse over the course of the seven years.
The Seal Judgments
- The white horse (Revelation 6:1-2) - This is the Antichrist. He comes with a bow but no arrows, and he wears a crown. I think this signifies that the Antichrist will be the "king of the world," the leader of the one-world government. That he comes with a bow but no arrows signifies that he will not use military force to attain his position. It will be slick diplomacy. You may have already witnessed his coming to power.
- The red horse (Revelation 6:3-4) - War. There will be peace at the beginning of the tribulation. The Antichrist will gain the support of the large majority through seemingly miraculous diplomacy. There will be worldwide peace, but it will not last. There will be an uprising against Antichrist, creating a world war. Many will die. With today's weaponry, there is reason to believe that mass destruction and bloodshed could occur in a short time. This war may only last a matter of weeks or months.
- The black horse (Revelation 6:5-6) - After a war like that, famine will occur and inflation will rise. The Bible says that oil and wine will not be damaged. Many scholars believe that is a prophecy saying that the rich will get richer, they will not suffer like the rest of the world, and that there will be inflation.
- The pale/ashen horse (Revelation 6:7-8) - This horse is named Death, and Hades follows with him. I believe this horse coincides with the previous two. Authority is given to this horse to kill a fourth of the population. It's reasonable to believe that a war such as the one predicted with the red horse, and the famine of the black horse could wipe out a billion or more people.
- Martyrdom of Tribulation Saints (Revelation 6:9-11) - The Bible calls those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior after the rapture tribulation saints. When this seal is broken, many of them are killed. If you have received Christ after the rapture, the hard truth is that you may be killed for your belief in Jesus.
- The Wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:12-17) - God pours out His wrath over the killing of many of His people with a great earthquake. The sky will turn dark, the moon will look like blood, and the stars will disappear. Mountains and islands will be moved from where they sit. Verse 16 talks about men trying to hide from Him who sits on the throne. I think this means that many people will be convinced about the truth of who Jesus Christ is after this earthquake, if they survive. This will be the worst earthquake in history, and it will be worldwide.
By the time of the earthquake, there will be many Jews coming to believe in Jesus. Revelation 7:4 talks about 144,000 Jewish witnesses. These witnesses, new tribulation saints, will be protected supernaturally from the judgments to come. The previous verse talks about being sealed on their foreheads, probably some supernatural way of believers being able to tell one another apart. This may sound like science-fiction, but remember that these are the last days! God will be pulling out all the stops. There is some speculation that all tribulation saints, not just Jews, will receive this seal.
In Revelation 7:9, John sees in his vision a multitude that no one could number coming to receive Jesus Christ. This means perhaps a billion people will come to know Christ. Later on in Revelation John talks about an army numbering two hundred million. If he can see that number, but can't see the number of the great multitude, how much more must that be. Over a billion perhaps?
- Issuing in the Trumpet Judgments (Revelation 8:1-2) - The seventh seal issues in the next series of judgments. Those judgments are so severe that the Bible says "When He (Jesus) opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour." Heaven is normally portrayed as a place of great joy. Imagine how bad it will get that Heaven goes silent.
The Trumpet Judgments
- Storm of Hail, Fire, and Blood (Revelation 8:7) - One-third of the earth's trees and all of the grass will be scorched when hail, fire, and blood rain down from the sky. The ecological ramifications will be devastating. This judgment was predicted back in the Old Testament, too, in Joel 2:30.
- The Mountain of Fire (Revelation 8:8-9) - Following the disaster from the first trumpet, there will be a "great mountain burning with fire." This, perhaps, will be a giant meteor. It will land in the ocean and turned a third of the water to blood. A third of all the creatures of the sea will die, a third of the ships will sink.
- Wormwood (Revelation 8:10-11) - Many men will die when another meteor-type object falls into the rivers of the earth. The water will become bitter and poisonous.
- One-Third of the Sun Is Struck (Revelation 8:12) - God will do something only He is capable of doing when He somehow reduces the amount of energy and light the sun, moon, and stars radiate by a third. The earth will turn cold. We can also imagine from "a third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night," that an extra third of the day that is now daylight will be dark. In other words, if there are twelve hours of daylight there will only be eight.
Before the last three trumpets are blown, there is an ominous warning in the book of Revelation. "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels are about to sound!" (Revelation 8:13)
- Apollyon the Destroyer (Revelation 9:1-11) - This passage of Scripture talks about an angel (demon) unlocking a "bottomless pit." From the pit smoke will fill the air, along with locust-type creatures that will torment those who have not received Jesus as their Lord and Savior for five months. Those who are tormented will want to die, but according to Scripture "death will flee from them." It's hard to imagine the kind of carnage that will result from this. People will want to die. They'll try to kill themselves, however, they want to be able to. The Bible says these locusts had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. In Hebrew the name of that angel (or demon, as it were) is Abaddon. In Greek the name is Apollyon. The name means "destroyer".
- 200,000,000 Horsemen (Revelation 9:13-19) - The second of the three "woes" is unleashed. There will be an army of 200 million horsemen who will kill a third of mankind, all unbelievers, those who don't have the seal of God on their foreheads. They will be supernatural beings. Many people believe that tribulation saints will be able to see them, but unbelievers will not. They will be frightening to even look at. They will sting with their mouth and their tails.
- Ushering In The Great Tribulation (Revelation 11:15-19) - Just as the seventh seal judgment ushered in the trumpet judgments, this seventh trumpet judgment ushers in the bowl judgments. While the seal and trumpet judgments will all talk place during the first three-and-a-half years of the tribulation, these final seven will occur during the last three-and-a-half, which is called the Great Tribulation. This judgment will not really be one that people on earth will witness, but the Bible says that heaven will rejoice because they will know that Christ's ultimate victory, His return, is coming soon.
I'll get into the bowl (or vial) judgments in a minute, but I think it's important to talk about the difference between the first half (three-and-a-half years) of the tribulation and the second half, which is called the Great Tribulation. I'll also quickly go over some events that will take place at the midpoint of the seven years. You also need to know about two men. Since you are one of those left behind after the rapture, you may have already heard of them on the news.
The Two Witnesses
"And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague as often as they desire." (Revelation 11:3-6)
These two witnesses, two men, will provide hope to those who receive Christ after the rapture. They will be a thorn in the Antichrist's side, so to speak, because they will be invincible for the first three-and-a-half years of the tribulation. They will proclaim the name of Jesus and many will come to believe through them. People who come against them will die.
So who are these men? Many believe they are two of the following: Elijah, Enoch, and Moses. Enoch was a godly man who never died. (Genesis 5:24) Elijah was a great Hebrew prophet who also never died (2 Kings 2:11-12). Moses is the only one of the three that did die. I'm one of the people subscribing to the belief that they are Elijah and Moses, arguably the two most influential men of the Old Testament. They were also the two men who were with Jesus and three of His disciples when He was transfigured (Matthew 17). Also, Moses and Elijah are men who have already performed miracles that these two men will do.
When their three-and-a-half years of invincibility are complete, at the midpoint of the tribulation, they will be murdered by the Antichrist, and the unbelievers in the world will love it. They will not be buried, instead their bodies will be left to rot. People will be so happy they will exchange gifts. However, their celebration will turn sour three-and-a-half days later. God will raise these two men from the dead, then bring them to heaven. At that time in Jerusalem there will be an earthquake. Seven thousand people will die and a tenth of the city will fall. Many will come to believe in Jesus as a result of this.
The Murder of the Antichrist
The two witnesses will not be the only men to die at the midpoint of the tribulation. Antichrist will also be murdered (Revelation 13:3). However, Satan being a poor imitation of the one true God, Satan himself will possess the Antichrist. He will "miraculously" rise from the dead. The world will be amazed. Furthermore, the Bible says that the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and that Satan, possessing the Antichrist, will declare himself to be god in the temple. The Bible calls this the "abomination of desolation."
Since Satan will then possess the Antichrist, the next three-and-a-half years will be called The Great Tribulation. They will be even worse the first half.