Rick Blomgren has made his living as an architect, but he also brings his mind for detail to the study of end-times prophecy. Blomgren, founder and pastor of Revere Today Ministries, pored over the Scriptures related to the last days and authored two very different books on biblical prophecy.
First, he wrote Stunned, a textbook that explains, in detail, 24 chronological events in biblical end-times prophecy and uses more than 800 Scriptures to, he says, "back up my thinking."
The author shows that half of those 24 events have already been fulfilled. They began to arrive in 1914. But because the final 12 have not yet arrived and we don't know exactly how they will come to pass, he went the historical-fiction route for his second book, The Pastor of the Last Days, written with Leland E. Pound.
"So many prophecy books that I've read are highly frightening and are basically about all the punishments and terrors that could be coming for Christians," he says. "That is not what a loving husband—Jesus—would do to His bride. For the last 45 years, I have done a deep dive into God's Word, researching what I believe could be the most glorious version of end-times prophecy using merely the complete Bible as my guide. I can now offer a version of end-times prophecy that is enlightening, joyful and a magnificent representation of the majesty and grandeur of our God. He's telling us some amazing things are about to arrive. And if we understand what they are and why they're coming, then we don't have to be afraid of what we're seeing in the world today."
Much as any loving parent would desire, God wants to protect His children in times of danger. "That's what God is doing," Blomgren says. "He's letting us know that in these last days, if you follow prophecy, you don't have to be afraid, you can be joyful and basically just sit back and watch. You don't have to try to change the world. God tells us in the Bible He is going to deal with the world Himself, as it is evil. Christ does everything; He doesn't need our help. All we have to do is follow Scripture so that we know what's happening, and lead a quiet and peaceful life per 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, where He asks us all to do this in the last days."
Just as Blomgren was set to release his novel, the coronavirus made its presence known. The COVID-19 crisis seemed a natural fit, and he realized the virus could be a catalyst for the final 12 end-times prophecies yet to arrive, so he delayed publication and added it.
"What I think COVID has done is it has desensitized mankind," he says. "Mankind is willing to accept things just at face value, like many of our freedoms being taken away, and the vast majority are accepting it. The Bible tells us in Luke 17:26-36 that the world will be at peace, albeit decadent until the singular 'day' the 'visual rapture' and 'Tribulation' arrive. This will allow for the Antichrist to have everything in place for full control of the world the day the church is taken home with Jesus. Christians should know from prophecy who this man is when he arrives. The world will think we are crazy if we share about his identity, but we will get to know who he is for a short time before Jesus takes us home. There are multiple biblical reasons for this to occur that I share in my novel."
Including the unexpected COVID-19 crisis to stay in sync with current events meant the addition of 10 more pages to the book.
"It fits in perfectly," Blomgren says. "It's not anything to be afraid of. It's part of the nature of what's going on in the world today. It has a purpose. God tells us the world basically is Satan's domain right now, and God's letting that be the case. If you understand what the reasoning is and how it's going to end, it's all in God's plans."
To support the events in the novel, Blomgren includes footnotes that show where its various elements come from in Scripture.
"If you want to look at it, you can, because I don't want people to think, 'Oh, he just came up with this as a fanciful story,'" he says.
In The Pastor of the Last Days, humanity is coping with rebuilding from the pandemic, and then Israel is attacked.
"Everything that's going on in the world today leads us to what will likely be the next event, the 13th prophecy, which I believe is going to be an attack on Israel, and how that sets the table for the final 11 prophecies leading to the 'visual' return of Christ. I did say visual," he says.
In the novel, Pastor Allen Rogers has avoided teaching prophecy as his megachurch seems to have little interest, but he does teach a detailed prophecy study group on the side.
"A lot of churches today don't get into the book of Revelation," he says. "That's kind of like going to a movie and not staying for the last 15 minutes of the presentation."
Pastor Rogers, on the other hand, is passionate about the study of the 24 major end-time prophecies. One Sunday morning, a visitation occurs during his church service. The pastor realizes the major prophecy that arrived in Israel this morning is God's 13th event, the first of the 12 remaining end-time prophecies. Guided by the Holy Spirit, he is transformed by God within weeks into "The Pastor of the Last Days," explaining in five sermons the 24 prophecies and how they play out for God's glory. The story culminates with the 24th prophecy, when Jesus arrives for the whole world to see, takes Christian with Him in the rapture and steals a false peace from the world, starting the seven-year Tribulation within hours of our departure.
Of the 24 prophetic events Blomgren sees in Scripture, three are what he calls "super signs," which are: the fourth, the rebirth of the new state of Israel in 1948; the 13th, where God alone will rescue Israel from Islam; and the 24th, signs that will appear on the day of the visual rapture, a shout from our Lord telling us the "Tribulation" is about to arrive, the rapture occurs, followed by the signing of a seven-year covenant starting the "Tribulation" all in one day. The novel shares multiple biblical reasons for all of this.
Rapture and Tribulation
Blomgren acknowledges that his reading on some end-times events is different from the views of many biblical scholars. But he reiterates his interpretation comes after a significant cross-referencing study of the Scriptures with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Many students of the Scriptures today hold firmly to the concept that the rapture is "imminent" and will happen in secret at any moment. Those who do not believe in Jesus will not be aware of what happened or where all the Christians went when they mysteriously vanish from the earth. This is the view that plays out in the plot of the novel Left Behind, which launched a mega-bestselling end-times series.
But, Blomgren believes God will give believers multiple signs before they are caught up to meet their Savior in the air. And, he says, the unsaved will "see" the believers rising into the sky, against all scientific norms. Some say Luke 17:20-21 says there will be no visual signs of the Lord's return to "see," but who was Jesus talking to? The Pharisees who did not believe. In context, no signs will be given to unbelievers, but there will be many signs given to believers as expressed in multiple other Bible verses.
Many Christians subscribe to the view that the "rapture" will happen in "the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:51-53). Blomgren disagrees. In these verses, the twinkling happens after the last trumpet, and where there is a last trumpet there must be a first. Also, we are told the dead in Christ rise first, then those of us who are alive, follow. God is literal in His Bible intentionally, so all this cannot happen out of His stated sequence at a single moment. There are amazing reasons for this to be true. Although the rapture will likely take place within a few minutes, it won't happen in a "twinkling" because seven mini-events comprise what believers normally think of as the rapture. The catching up of believers in the air is just one of the seven parts, Blomgren says.
"The rapture clearly happens in seven events," he says. "It can't happen instantaneously."
One significant thing Blomgren believes God does in the rapture is to bring in the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation to accept Jesus as their Messiah as they see believers leave into the sky. Per Malachi 4:5-6, Elijah, their teacher, arrives prior to the rapture, likely re-establishes the 12 tribes of Israel and puts the 144,000 group together before the Tribulation arrives.
"God may use the rapture as an event to bring the 144,000 to accept Christ as their Messiah the day the rapture occurs. I see the rapture as potentially a Damascus Road conversion moment for the 144,000 going into the Tribulation, on day one," he says. "It's incredible. When I wrote The Pastor book, the 13th chapter is the end, and it explains how this all might come together in the last days, how the rapture is a visual event seen by the world. So, when God says the world is terrified on this day, can you imagine what it would be like if they see all the dead in Christ rise and they're reunited with their earthly bodies in the sky? They are not changed into their eternal bodies yet. Then all of us who are alive who know to be looking up rise to be with them as a second group into the sky. We will hear the final trumpet, and then both groups are all changed in the 'twinkling.' We do not disappear. The world will see us all 'changed in a twinkling' in a bright light with our new white robes, as we rise into the clouds to be seen no more."
The newly saved 144,000 Jews—12,000 from each of Israel's 12 tribes—will enter the Tribulation along with all the unbelievers on earth at the time of Christ's initial coming in the clouds. God will use these Jewish scholars to teach the gospel to all the people of the world during the full seven years.
"God always has some plan to get people to where they have the ability to know who Jesus is," he says. "The 144,000 are going to be incredible. They're going to all be on par with Paul himself, and they'll be indestructible."
"In Isaiah 61:1-2, the prophet, through a literary tool of impersonation, lists three announcements to be given by the Messiah in the future," Blomgren says. "Isaiah 61:2a announces the Christian age, from Jesus' first to second visits, 61:2b will announce the start of the Tribulation and 61:2c announces the beginning of the Millennium. Jesus is designated to make all three announcements. Per Luke 4:18-21, Jesus announces 61:2a during His reading of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue, then stops reading mid-sentence and tells the crowd, 'Today this prophecy is fulfilled in your hearing.' He still needs to make two more announcements, 61:2b and 61:2c. In the next announcement, with a 'shout' at the rapture, Jesus will be telling the world that the Tribulation is about to begin per Isaiah 61:2b. The third announcement by Christ begins the Millennium, per Isaiah 61:2c, after He is back on earth. This is an amazing verse that has been severely skimmed over."
God's love for His chosen people, the Hebrews (Isaiah 43:10, 20), is critical to this seven-year period.
"It's appointed to the Jews to preach Christ to the world," Blomgren says. "I'll use the 70 weeks of Daniel for support here. In Daniel 9:24-27, God appoints 70 weeks (of seven years each or 490 years total) to bring an end to Israel's errors, sin and prophecy. We are told that there were 69 weeks appointed from the time of Cyrus' decree to when the Messiah would be cut off (at the cross). One week of seven years remains. By the way, Ptolemy's calculation of the date of the decree is wrong. If you believe Jesus is the Messiah as mentioned in Daniel 9:26, the decree of Cyrus happened 483 years prior to Christ's crucifixion (the cutting off), with seven years left. It is simple math. There's one week remaining, which will be the Tribulation. And the example that I give of this is it will be Jewish men that will teach Jesus as the Messiah inside the Tribulation. There won't be any Christians left. No Christians go into the Tribulation. And my logic for this is that for the entire first 69 of the 70 weeks of Daniel, there was not one Christian church in existence, only Jews. The 70th week is only for the Jews as well, to bring them back to God and their Messiah, and there won't be any Christians here either because we're taken at the rapture. It's all about the Jews, even to this day, the Christian church has not replaced our brothers the Jews."
The day the rapture happens, the seven-year Tribulation begins, Blomgren says "the events of this one day will be terrifying to unbelievers and beyond spectacular for believers! We are to be in the light and know this per 1 Thessalonians 5:4-9."
The Scriptures point to the seven years of the Tribulation as a horrendous period in many ways for the entire time.
"Per the book of Revelation, the judgments inside the Tribulation are going to be so difficult to deal with that people are going to do whatever they can to survive them," he says. "I've had people tell me the first half of the Tribulation is going to be peaceful. Per Revelation, there are 21 judgments meant to be literal, starting with the seven seal judgments and then the seven trumpet judgments that happened in the first half. There's a set of seven bowl judgments that happen in the last half. In the fourth seal judgment, it's appointed to kill one-quarter of those remaining on earth. So, let's say 6 billion people live on the earth after the rapture, this 4th seal will kill 1.5 billion people. The sixth trumpet judgment is appointed to kill another third of those remaining, another 1.5 billion people. That means that at the middle point of the Tribulation, half of the world's population will be killed, 3 billion people in three and a half years. I did math on it. And if you calculate this out, it means that during the Tribulation, 2,350,000 people will die per day in the first half of the Tribulation. Today, with about 8 billion people in the world, approximately 200,000 people die per day of natural causes. The math shows that this is not going to be a fun time to be living. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy."
"I'm offering people an alternate point of view that isn't a scary one, that basically says God may have much bigger 'visual' plans for the second arrival of His Son than the church is sharing with us today, their current concept that Jesus' return will happen, without signs, at any moment and poof, we're gone!" he says. "This is a very weak interpretation. God's not going to waste a golden opportunity. He always does things in big ways. Think about the Exodus from Egypt or the destruction of Sodom. These were huge visual events. During the Exodus when God parted the sea, He could have easily brought a fleet of ships across the water to get His people and take them to the other side. But He wanted a grand visual way to show His people how He would defeat the Egyptian army. Anything short of large visual statements by God wouldn't have been a grand representation of His enormousness."
See and Believe
Blomgren is concerned that in these last days, many people, including so-called Christians, will be taken in by false, weak and frightening interpretations of prophecy and mis-characterizations of God.
"There are so many disturbing uninformed interpretations of prophecy out today," he says. "Many prophecy books out today make God out to be a tyrant. This is not possible because God sent His Son to die for us on the cross to save us, the greatest of all loving events."
We know God tells us in the Bible that He wants people to see His prophecies and believe.
"God is shouting from the rooftop today telling us exactly what is coming and why," he says.
How do we know God wants us to both see and comprehend what is to come?
"Because God tells us directly," Blomgren says. "In Mark 13:23, He says, 'But take heed; I have told you everything in advance.' In John 14:29, we are told, 'Now I tell you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.'"
Blomgren believes God has a clear purpose in telling us what's to come.
"It's for our comfort, so that coming troubling events in the world will make sense in His plans and will not scare us," he says. "Prophecy is designed to give us peace and joy. After the blessing of Christ coming to save us from sin, prophecies fulfilled and yet foretold are the greatest of all blessings for mankind, if we are willing to 'see' and understand them."
"The Pastor of the Last Days is written in a historical-fiction style. I place prophecy into a possible story line that is easy to understand. It also shares what might be coming, how it might play out and how it is all good news for those that trust Jesus. It is an easy, quick read and will keep the reader captivated, at the very least knowing this version of the last days might offer peace and encouragement. God directs us to comfort one another with His words in 1 Thessalonians 4:18."
Blomgren thinks that end-times events may play out close to what he has shared.
"My novel offers a set of plausible possibilities," he says. "My thinking is simply this: If there is a more majestic concept of prophecy that anybody can show me using all these prophecies in any sequence that gives God more glory and majesty than the one I propose, I will be interested in knowing. If not, I will stand with this interpretation and wait to see if this might be what God has in mind. God is amazing!"
Christine D. Johnson is an editor at Charisma Media and host of the Charisma Connection podcast.
This article was excerpted from the August issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.
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