Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Great Tribulation -- The Worst is Yet to Come!

In the past few blogs, I have told you about the Rapture of all believers in Christ. For, Christ will come in a cloud in the air to take all true Christians, whether living or dead, back to heaven with Him. Unbelievers left on earth will have to face the Tribulation Period that was prophesied about in both the Older Testament and the Newer Testament. I have told you about both the Rapture and the Tribulation Period so that you can share this information and truth with both believers and unbelievers whether you are engaging in Active Relational Christian Mentoring or you are witnessing to those who are lost.

One of the reasons that you need to know as much as you can about the Rapture and the Tribulation Period is that people have a tendency to downplay both the Rapture and the Tribulation. In fact, if you asked Christians about the Rapture and the Tribulation Period you would probably get answers like “Yes, I have heard about it but I haven’t studied it” or “That won’t happen in my lifetime”. Most unbelievers, though, will tell you they have not heard of either the Rapture or the Tribulation Period unless they have seen movies about them. How sad! We all must do a better job of telling the world the Gospel Message of Christ’s love and salvation. Moreover, we can’t be afraid to tell people what the repercussions are for not making a choice for the Lord.  So, today I will give you more information about the Great Tribulation, i.e., the last three and one-half years of the overall Tribulation, so that you can tell others and answer their questions about the Tribulation Period.

(This blog is a little longer than some of the others because there was so much information that I wanted to share with you. However, I have divided the blog into sections so that you can read one section at a time within your own time-frame. I hope you enjoy learning about the Great Tribulation Period).

The Antichrist

Down through the ages there have been many evil people and many misguided individuals who have been hostile to Christ. There are still evil people today who will do anything to keep people from knowing Christ and who are fixated on living and gaining things for themselves no matter the outcome for others. However, we need to understand that “even now many antichrists have appeared. …”  -- (I John 2: 18. NASB). They have been seen throughout the world over the centuries instigating rebellion against Christ and setting up the conditions for the Antichrist to appear someday. Who are these antichrists? The Apostle John wrote, “Who is the great liar? The one who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Such people are antichrists for they have denied the Father and the Son.”  -- (I John 2: 22, NLT). In other words, anyone who denies that God exists and anyone who denies that Christ is the Son of God who came to earth and died for our sins and then arose from the grave, is an antichrist.

There are some antichrists who do not do much to share their disbelief, and unfortunately there are even some antichrists within churches. Still other antichrists are within our government, like the one who is running for the highest office today, who really want to do away with all Christian religion if given the chance. There are others who will do everything they can to dissuade people from believing in Christ and are constantly working behind the scenes to eliminate Christ and the Gospel message from our country. Many of these antichrists are evil inspired and have agendas that create havoc and chaos under the guise of political correctness. Still others don’t care what the rest of the world thinks, they just want to eliminate all Christians and Jews.

Today, those that are members of ISIS are antichrists as are the atheists and others who are doing everything they can to destroy the Gospel message and the truth of the Father and the Son. But the Holy Spirit has been holding back the appearance of the Antichrist or the “man of lawlessness”. He is the person who will embody all the traits of all antichrists within one person. This one person will be the epitome of evil even though he will deceive the world with his talk and ways. Once in power, the Antichrist will then lead and foster a rebellion against Christ while trying to remove every mention of Christ and salvation from the world.

Once all believers and the Holy Spirit are removed from the earth, there will no longer be any personal or worldwide peace as love grows cold. People will easily kill each other for even minor confrontations. (see Revelation 6:4). People living during the Tribulation will be living like in the Days of Noah where they will do whatever feels good, which will lead to a valueless society that embraces great immorality and evil. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know when this all would occur and when Jesus would come again. But, Jesus told His disciples that no one would know the day or hour that He would come again. Then Christ went on to say, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”  -- (Matthew 24: 37-39. NASB).

We do not know when the Rapture and the Tribulation will occur, but the stage is set for the arrival of the Antichrist on the scene. He is the evil inspired person who can influence and rule all people through his use of deceptive lies. Is he already on the scene? Is he out there somewhere in the background of the political world?  We don’t know, but we need to be ready for the Rapture, and we need to tell others of the impending Tribulation Period so people can make a choice. For, once the Rapture occurs, the Tribulation Period with the Antichrist’s arrival will start.

The Holy scriptures tell us that at the beginning of the Tribulation Period the Antichrist will come to the forefront on the political scene. He may have already been working behind the scenes and working to eliminate Christ and the Gospel message from the world, but it is with the beginning of the Tribulation that He enters the world stage. (He is just waiting for the Tribulation to start after all the believers in Christ have been Raptured!). The Antichrist will have persuasive powers, as well as deceptive but smooth and believable answers to solve the problems of the world. His personality and charisma will have facilitated his rise to power and will now give him great authority. This power and authority will then enable him to make a covenant with Israel for peace. Sadly, the Jewish people, who have been persecuted for so long, will believe that he is capable of giving them peace. So, they will trust him and sign a covenant with the Antichrist and other nations hoping to finally have peace for Israel.

At the end of the first three and one-half years, though, the Antichrist who represents pure evil, will become even worse as he is then indwelt by Satan. It is at this time that he will break his covenant with Israel, and Israel will again be persecuted. Any people throughout the world who have turned to Christ during the Tribulation period will be persecuted as well and many will be martyred, for along with putting a mark on the hands of every person in order to buy and sell food, those who have believed in Christ and have become Christians as well as those who refuse to have the Antichrist’s mark on them, will rounded up and their heads will be cut off.

The Apostle Paul tells us that the Antichrist “will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. … This evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those that are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them. So, God will send a great deception upon them, and they will believe all these lies. Then they will be condemned for not believing the truth and for enjoying the evil they do.”  -- (II Thessalonians 2: 4, 9-12, NLT).

Jesus tells us that “the time will come when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about; the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place– (Matthew 14: 15. NLT). What is that sacrilegious object? Well we don’t know, but it must be pretty bad. We do know that it will be something detestable or deplorable to God; dishonoring God and the temple. It could be a false idol, or something that God has told His people is unclean. In centuries past, other antichrists desecrated the Jewish temple by slaughtering a pig on the altar. A pig is both detestable to God and unclean. One was the Roman General Antiochus IV in 168 – 167 B.C. At another time, the Roman General, Titus, desecrated the Temple in 70 A.D before he destroyed the Temple.

God and His Son, Jesus Christ, will not allow the Antichrist to succeed in his devious plans to control the world. They will shorten the time period of the Tribulation. In fact, Jesus told the disciples that “unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”  -- (Matthew 24: 22. NASB). Who are the elect? Well, they are the saints, or the people who have turned to Christ and become new Christians during the Tribulation period. This includes the 144,000 Jewish men who have believed in Christ and who are telling the Jewish people and the world about Christ during the Tribulation. Many individuals will come to know Christ because of their witness. (See Revelation 7: 1-8).

Part of the Great Tribulation, or the “Mega” Tribulation, is the opening of the seven seals and the seven trumpets that will bring devastation and judgment upon the world. Before the Tribulation Period is over and probably during the Great Tribulation, Christ, the Lamb, will open the seven seals in heaven releasing riders on horses and angels with trumpets to render judgment devastation upon the earth. Let’s take a look at these seals and trumpets to see what they will bring upon the Great Tribulation Period.

The Seven Seals

The book of Revelation is the written record of what the Apostle John saw in his vision of Christ and heaven that God gave to him on the Isle of Patmos. For, John was given a special look into the last days so that he could tell people what was going to happen here on earth after the Rapture.  In Chapter 6 the Apostle John saw in a vision, the Lamb, i.e. Christ, break the “seals of judgment” one at a time. With the breaking of each seal of judgment Christ is setting in motion events that will bring an end to the world as we know it, as He and His angels open the seals and bowls of judgment (we will discuss the bowls of judgments at a later date). Christ, the Lamb, is the One opening the seals of judgment.

When the first seal of judgment was broken, the Apostle John “looked and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”  -- (Revelation 6: 2. NASB). The rider of this white horse is not Christ. For, it is here that the Antichrist appears on the scene. With power, authority and deception, he influences the world against God. Why would God allow the Antichrist to enter the scene? Well, it is through the Antichrist that the Lord tests what is in the hearts of the people. God will see who is willing to follow the Antichrist and who is willing to follow Christ? Moreover, the Antichrist will be deceiving the world into thinking that he is good and true. In this image and symbol, he even looks like a good and true man as he rides in on a white horse. However, the Antichrist hopes to conquer the world through deception, and ultimately through war. He is neither good or true. But, God has an ultimate and final surprise coming for him at a future date!

When Christ, i.e. the Lamb, breaks the second seal of judgment, another being on a red horse comes to take all peace from the earth, which leads people into killing each other. Meanness and chaos will be the norm, so “that men would slay one another;-- (Revelation 6: 4. NASB).

Then Jesus Christ, the Lamb, breaks the third seal of judgment, which brought forth a being on a black horse. He has scales in his hands to weigh food. He represents famine and poverty. At that time, world economies and food crops will be destroyed. The Apostle John also heard a voice saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”  -- (Revelation 6: 6. NASB). A single denarius would be equal to a day’s wages. So, there will be terrible hunger throughout the world. For, those that can work will work all day to barely get enough to eat.

When the Lamb breaks the fourth seal of judgment, a being on an ashen horse appears. His name is Death, and he is given the authority to kill one fourth of all the people on the earth, “to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beast of the earth.– (Revelation 6: 8. NASB). So, now along with the famine is added pestilence, wild rogue beasts and this rider’s sword. Hopefully the other three-fourths of people left, will acknowledge their sinfulness and turn to Christ to repent and be saved. Unfortunately, hardened hearts and deception keep most people from doing so.

Now, the fifth seal of judgment is opened. With the breaking open of this seal, John beheld the souls of the martyred for Christ under the heavenly altar. These souls are crying out for the evil people to be judged and their deaths avenged. John tells us that he “saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”  -- (Revelation 6: 9-11. NASB). These are the Tribulation saints. They are the ones who, in going through the Tribulation, turned to Christ and were slain for their belief in Him. They will be honored when everything that Christ has promised has been fulfilled. Others will join them, because there are still people who will turn to Christ through the witnessing of the 144,000 Jewish men even as the Great Tribulation period gets worse. So, these souls are told that there are to be more martyred souls that will join those under the altar.

With the opening of the sixth seal of judgment, there was a great earthquake. At the same time, “the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to earth as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and freeman hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.”  -- (Revelation 6: 12-15. NASB).  Sadly, these people begged for the mountains and rocks to fall on them to kill them as they acknowledge the One who created the rocks and mountains and his power and authority. Still, though, they refused to believe on Christ or give God the honor He deserves. When people refuse to humble themselves, judgment is the result, and these people were experiencing that judgment and they would continue to experience even more judgments.

Have you humbled yourself before the Lord? Have you asked Christ to forgive you and to cleanse you from your sins? If you haven’t yet done so, you might want to think upon the people of the Great Tribulation Period. Like them, has your heart become so hardened that you will not even attempt to understand the truth of God’s Word? I pray that before it is too late that you will think upon the Gospel message. Your pride can be overcome, if you will humble yourself before the Lord and ask for His salvation. If you are already saved, you have the humble responsibility of sharing your knowledge of salvation, the Rapture, and the coming Tribulation with others. Time is running out. But, no matter how hardened the person’s heart, we have the responsibility and duty to tell that person about Christ. Perhaps you could mentor someone through Active Relational Christian Mentoring.

When Christ broke open the seventh seal of judgment, there was silence in heaven for about an hour. Then an angel took a censer “and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”  -- (Revelation 8: 5. NASB). But worse things are to come with the opening of this judgment seal than just thunder and lightning and an earthquake, for seven angels with seven trumpets appear with the opening of this seventh seal. They would now announce even more escalating judgments upon the earth.

God wants people to turn to Him. In fact, these escalating judgments are being used to show people that God is indeed the God over everything. Just like the ten plagues on the Egyptians before the Israelites were allowed to leave Egypt, God employees escalating judgments during the Great Tribulation to show people that He is God and there is no other. For, God wants people to repent and turn to His Son, Jesus Christ, receiving the gift of salvation, but He will not force anyone to come to Him.

The Seven Trumpets

With the breaking of the seventh seal of judgment, there appeared seven angels each with a trumpet. They prepared themselves to sound the trumpets. Then the first angel sounded his trumpet and “there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.”  -- (Revelation 8: 6, 7. NASB). Over the years, we have experienced forest fires and large areas of our forests have burned up, but never has a third of the earth or all the green grass burned up. How devastating! But, the judgments do not stop there, because people are still refusing to acknowledge the salvation of Christ.

So, the second angel sounded the trumpet, and “something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.”  -- (Revelation 8: 8, 9. NASB). The earth had already faced famine, pestilence, wild beasts, earthquakes, and fires, just to mention a few of the things people were having to endure. Now the nations and the people would not have the needed ships to bring goods to nations, nor would they have catches of fish from the sea to supplement their lacking food supplies, because the creatures in one third of the sea had died. How would many survive without enough food and supplies, and if they did survive would they turn to God and give Him the glory? Instead, many more died and many people continued to refuse to ask Christ into their heart.

Then the third angel sounded his trumpet and “a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”  -- (Revelation 8: 10, 11. NASB). In these last two trumpet judgments, only one-third of the earth is destroyed. But, God’s full wrath is coming soon.

Shortly thereafter, the fourth angel sounded his trumpet and “a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.– (Revelation 8: 12. NASB).  Can you imagine that instead of nearly 12 hours of daylight, there would only be eight hours of daylight, and that for four hours of the night there would be little light from the night sky either. Things are getting darker for those who refuse to turn to Christ. Imagine, too, the Antichrist trying to explain to the world what is going on, for he does not have the power or authority to correct the situation. People have put their faith in the wrong being. Have you put your faith in God and His Son, or have you put your faith in secular things or in human beings or false idols that can do nothing for your eternal soul? If so, you may want to re-evaluate your decisions. As long as you are breathing it is never too late to ask Christ to come into your heart.

Through the Apostle John’s vision, Christ has allowed the Apostle John and us to see some of what is going to happen during the Great Tribulation Period. However, John was not given the timeline, but instead just the sequence of certain events. This means that there can be a short amount of time between each event or the time can be randomly spread out among all the events. But, remember these events all happen within the total seven years of the Tribulation and most probably happen during the last three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation. Having said that, it is now time to find out what the fifth angel and his trumpet brought upon the earth.

When the fifth angel sounded the trumpet judgment, John saw “a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the pit came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months; and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.”  -- (Revelation 9: 1-5. NASB).  

Notice that God puts His seal on the foreheads of those who come to His Son for Salvation. Remember, that the Antichrist tries to duplicate God in many different areas and this is one of them. The Antichrist has made everyone who follows him and his right-hand man, the false prophet, to have a number either on their right hand or forehead.  For, the Bible says, “he required everyone –great and small, rich and poor, slave and free – to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.”  -- (Revelation 13: 16, 17. NASB).  We are told, though, that those who have refused to get the number of the Antichrist, because they have believed in Christ, will be sealed by God, and the seal is on their foreheads. They will still have problems buying and selling things, and if they are caught by the Antichrist and his minions, they will be put to death. But, God has sealed them for his eternal home. These are the ones who are martyred for Christ, but who will be called saints.

So, let’s recap. First, John saw that a fallen star had exposed a bottomless pit that had a lock on it that could only be opened by the angel with the key. But when the angel unlocked the pit, terrible creatures similar to locusts came out of the pit. That’s where the similarity to locusts ended though. These creatures were more like scorpions, because they would sting people and for five months the people would writhe in severe pain wishing they could die. But death flees from them.

The Apostle John goes ahead and describes more about these creatures who will cause so much trouble and pain. John says, “The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.”  -- (Revelation 9: 7-11. NASB)

The angel that comes out of the abyss is not one of God’s good angels. For, this is one of the angels that had rebelled against God with Satan when Satan thought that he could take over the throne of God thousands of years ago. God had cast both Satan and his traitorous angels to earth, for their disobedience and pride which would not be tolerated. Some of these angels God locked up in dungeons or bound up, because they were so evil. The Apostle Peter wrote about these angels saying, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; … then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.”  -- (II Peter 2: 4, 9. NASB).

The Scriptures tell us that the release of this bad angel brings on the first woe, but two more woes are coming. I can’t imagine having to live through such a painful ordeal of being stung by these scorpion/locusts like creatures, and I certainly can’t imagine not recognizing God Who is not only in complete control, but Who loves us so much that He gave His Only Son so that we would not have to go through the Tribulation. Even yet, these Tribulation people are told that they can turn to God if they so choose. Would you turn to God in this situation, or would you allow your pride to keep you in hell on earth and in hell in eternity? I hope that you would choose Christ!

Next, the sixth angel sounded his judgment trumpet. At the nearly the same time, John heard a voice in heaven telling the sixth angel to “‘Release the four angels at the great river Euphrates.’ And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million;-- (Revelation 9: 14-16. NASB).  These angels led an enormous army of over 200 million troops on horses. Notice again, that previously, these fallen angels had been bound, and now they were released when they would be used to bring judgment on the people.

There is much chaos and pain on earth, but God is still in control. In fact, God shows us that He prepared ahead of time for these angels to lead an army of millions. These angels were prepared to do the job that God wanted done. In my earlier blogs, I told you that God has prepared each of us to do a job or ministry for Him. He has prepared each of us by giving each person the specific talents, gifts, and ability to do the job that only each one of us can do. However, we still have “free will”, so we can ignore our gifts that were given to us to be used for the Lord, use our gifts in negative ways, or we can step forward to use our gifts for the glory of God. I don’t know about you, but I want to do whatever it is that God has prepared for me to do. So, because God gave me the ability to write and mentor other people, I am using those talents and gifts to do the work for God. That is why I promote the ministry of Active Relational Christian Mentoring in all my blogs.  Now, more than any other time in history, we need Christians sharing the Gospel message and mentoring both Christians and non-Christians on the Rapture and the Tribulation. For, time is running out to serve the Lord and to help people come to know Christ as their Savior.

The Apostle John didn’t just see the army of 200 million. He “saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them; the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions, and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire, and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.  The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.” – (Revelation 9: 17-21. NASB). How sad!

The Apostle John writes that the seventh angel came down from heaven and he had in his hand a little book that was open.  John said: “He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on land; and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices…. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them down.’ Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, … that there will be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound (his trumpet), then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”  – (Revelation 10: 1-7. NASB).

There are many other things that we will not know about. Moreover, God does not plan to give us every detail of the Rapture or the Tribulation. Instead He gives us just enough to show us that His words are true and that these things will happen in the way that He has planned for it to happen. Throughout history, we can see that God not only has moved heaven and earth to show us Who He is and show us what He can do for us, but He has also shown us His will throughout history. Now, in the book of Revelation God has shown us His will for the future, as He has used His prophet to record His words. We may not fully understand everything the Lord has told us, but we have a responsibility to warn others of their impending doom if they do not repent and ask Christ into their heart.

Many other things happen and are recorded within the pages of the book of Revelation, but one of the most exciting things that happens is the seventh angel’s sounding of the trumpet. For John tells us, “Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The Kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and forever.”  Then twenty-four elders at the throne of God fell before God worshipping Him and saying, “‘We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.’ And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”  -- (Revelation 11: 15-18. NASB). When the seventh trumpet is sounded, Christ the King is royally announced. Then Christ appears in the clouds with His army of saints and angels.

There is, however, a battle that is still to be fought. The battle of Armageddon is still to come. Also, the war of Gog and Magog is still to come. But Christ will reign supreme. We will learn more about the end of the Tribulation Period, the Great White Throne Judgment, the battles, Christ’s 1000-year reign, and the New Heaven and New Earth in the next couple of blogs. Certainly, for all the saints or believers, there will come a time when the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. For, Christ will reign triumphantly throughout the new earth forever.  Where will you be at the end of the Tribulation Period? Will you be with the Lord waiting to worship the Lord on the new earth, or will you have to face the Tribulation Period and the Great White Throne Judgment, because you refused to humble yourself before the Lord and ask for forgiveness of your sins? I don’t know about you, but I will share what I know about the Gospel and I will work to let people know what the truth is and why it is so important to make a decision now for Christ. That is why Active Relational Christian Mentoring is so important. I believe in you. I believe you can humble yourself before the Lord and ask for the gift of salvation if you have not already done so. I believe that You can then share the Good News with others. You can do it! You, and all believers can mentor others for the Lord! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Have You Told Others About the Horrors of the Coming Tribulation Period?

Christians usually know a little something about the Tribulation Period, but because we will not have to live through it, we often fail to tell others of this terrible period of time. In fact, while the Tribulation is going on here on earth, those that have been Raptured to heaven will be engaged in the wedding supper of the Lamb. This is the last event of the marriage of the church. Just like the weddings during Christ’s time here on earth, we have seen that the church, which is the bride of Christ, will experience the same type of events that were part of the weddings of Christ’s day. This includes the culminating event of the marriage supper, wherein the groom puts on a large banquet for the bride.

As Christians are celebrating the wedding supper with Christ and are living with peace, love, and joy, while in compete harmony, there will be something else going on here on earth. Those that are left behind will be facing a totally different scenario than the believers. For while believers will be at a wedding supper in heaven, unbelievers will be living through the Tribulation Period. So, what is this period and why should Christians tell others about this coming period in time?

The Tribulation Period

There have been several movies made about the Tribulation Period, some like the Left Behind series are based on biblical scripture. Others are just movies made to scare and entertain the audience. Unfortunately, both types create a fantasy for the viewer, sometimes leading them to believe that it is just a movie or story so it will never happen. Or, they believe that it is so far in the future that they don’t have to worry about it. But, Christians know that the Tribulation Period will be very real for those that are indeed left behind.

We also have learned through my previous blogs that the Tribulation Period will start at the time of the Rapture after all authentic Christians are taken from the earth. We also learned that the Rapture can happen at any time. I can’t emphasize enough that failing to make a decision for Christ, will lead to unprecedented pain and suffering which leads to a permanent hell. So, what should everyone know about the Tribulation Period in order to avoid being left behind to experience it? Furthermore, what exactly do you need to tell others about the Tribulation Period, so that they will know that it is a real event and not fantasy, and that it will indeed occur?

So that you will know what to say to unbelievers about the Tribulation Period, I will start by telling you what the Tribulation period is. The Tribulation Period will be a time of indescribable horror. We know this because Jesus told His disciples, “For then there will be a great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days are cut short, no life would have been saved…”   -- (Matthew 24: 21, 22, NASB). Fortunately, Christ and God, the Father, will cut short the Tribulation period so that some lives can be saved. So, how long will this Tribulation period last?

According to Daniel’s prophecy in the book of Daniel, this Tribulation period will last a total of seven years. Although Daniel prophesied hundreds of years before Christ came to earth, his prophecies described both future events that have already been fulfilled, such as the prophecy about the Messiah and His death, and future events that are still to occur. Daniel spoke of these future events in “weeks”.

Daniel's Prophecy in Weeks

Even though it is fairly complicated to figure out, because the Jewish “week” is based upon the Jewish lunar calendar and not our solar calendar, we know that a “week” is a seven-year period. By using the lunar calendar, and without going into great detail, we know that Daniel’s 70 weeks is referring to 70 seven-year periods, or 490 years starting with the Jewish people’s Babylonian captivity. In fact, in the ninth chapter of Daniel we learn that Daniel’s prophecy calculations actually start with the King Artaxerxes’ decree that the Jewish people could return to Jerusalem to rebuild Jerusalem and the city walls. For, Daniel said, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; …– (Daniel 9: 24, 25. NASB)

Then, Daniel said that after sixty-two weeks that the Messiah would be cut off. There is only one person who actually fits this particular prophecy time line and it is Jesus Christ who died, or was “cut off,” and then rose again three days later. These seven weeks are actually seven sevens or 49 years. Notice that Daniel then added sixty-two weeks or 434 years to the 49 years to make a total of 483 years. Amazingly, this was the exact number of years from the issuing of the decree to restore Jerusalem until the Messiah came. For, it was exactly 483 years or sixty-nine of the seventy weeks of Daniel’s prophecy until Jesus Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what Christians call “Good Friday”. The following Friday, Christ was crucified or “cut off” just as Daniel predicted.

Why is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy about Jesus’ entrance and cutting off important to us? It is important because it shows that Daniel’s prophecy about the Messiah came true and that his other prophecy in regard to the Tribulation period will come true as well. So, there is still one week of Daniel’s prophecy that has not happened yet, but it will happen when God is ready for the Rapture to occur. This prophecy of future events is in regard to the seventh week or the last seven-year period, which is the Tribulation Period. We know that this seven-year period or last “week” of Daniel’s prophecy is the Tribulation Period, because Jesus tells us that it is in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 that we will take a closer look at in just a moment.

Two Halves to the Tribulation Period

So, the Tribulation Period will last seven years. But according to Daniel’s prophecy there will be two halves to this period. The first half is the first three and one-half years. This time period will be bad, but it will not be as bad as the second half of the Tribulation Period. Moreover, the Bible scriptures do not tell us how bad the first half will be. However, it does tell us how bad the second half will be. For, it is at the three and one-half year mark that the Antichrist shows his true colors and becomes indwelt by Satan doing terrible things and trying to act like he is a god. He even replicates some of the things that Christ did while he was here on earth, thus deceiving many. We will talk more about this in another blog. But for right now, just know that the Antichrist will come upon the scene acting like he is the savior of the world. Later, though, he will show his true colors and become a destroyer of people.

Daniel explained in his prophecy how bad this Antichrist will be, for Daniel said, “… the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. … even to the end there will be war, desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  -- (Daniel 9: 26, 27. NASB).

The middle of the week, is at the three and one-half year mark. From Daniel’s prophecy we can determine that the Antichrist will have great political power, the kind of power that it takes to make a covenant of peace with Israel and then later to break that covenant. It is at the three and one-half year mark that the Antichrist stops the Jewish sacrifices and grain offerings in the temple. But he goes a step further and desecrates the temple with some type of abomination. The word “abomination” refers to something that is detestable to God.  Again, Jesus refers to this abomination in His Olivet Discourse with the disciples.

The Olivet Discourse

Jesus took his disciples up to the Mount of Olives, and in chapter 24 of Matthew Jesus spoke about the end times and the coming Tribulation period. This recorded discussion is called the Olivet Discourse. The disciples had previously asked Jesus Christ some questions before they even got to the Mount of Olives. In two of the questions the disciples wanted to know what the signs would be for the end to come and what would be the sign of Christ coming again. When they got to the Mount of Olives and sat down around Jesus, He answered them by telling them first not to be afraid, because there would be wars and rumors of wars, but that those things had to take place. Still that would not be the end. First, “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”  -- (Matthew 24: 7, 8. NASB). Then “there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”  -- (Matthew 24: 21. NASB).

Jesus then went on to say that it would be after these birth pangs that the Great Tribulation period would finally come. He said, “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. … At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  -- (Matthew 24: 9,10, 12-14. NASB). The end of the Tribulation Period will culminate in Christ’s Second Coming or as the Apostle Paul tells us, “The Day of the Lord.” Paul said, “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”  -- (I Thessalonians 5: 2. NASB).

Before the end or The Day of the Lord, and in the middle of the last week, or exactly three and one half years after the tribulation starts, however, the Great Tribulation will start. In fact, Jesus said that it will start “when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.– (Matthew 24: 15. NASB). We will talk more about the abomination in another blog. Suffice it to say, that half way through the Tribulation, the Antichrist changes his attitude and behavior toward Israel and the world from the original political face that he put on for the world when he made the covenant with Israel. Things are going to go from bad to worse for the entire world, though, and not just for Israel.

A Million Times Worse than We Have Ever Seen Before

This word “tribulation” comes from the Greek Word “Thilipsis”, which means affliction or anguish. The word “great” comes from the word “Megas”. We use the word “Mega” in many of our own words today, which means 10 to the power of 6 or one million. For example, we have such words as “megabyte” and “megaton” to name just a couple. So, Jesus was telling the disciples that this awful time period would be a “mega” “affliction” full of anguish that would be a million times worse than anything they could imagine or that had ever happened on the earth before. That is why God cuts the time short to only seven years so that not everyone dies. Instead, there will be a few people who will come to Christ during the Tribulation period, but they will be persecuted and some will even be martyred for their salvation.

In the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24: 9 we learn that there will be an increase in lawlessness as people’s love grows cold. To reiterate how terrible this period will be, Christ tells the Apostle John in the book of Revelation that “…a red horse went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another”  -- (Revelation 6: 4). Christ will send a warrior angel to take all peace from the earth. Can you imagine total chaos, hate, and unrest? That is exactly what will happen without peace on the earth. Without peace on the earth, we are told that men and women will actually slay each other. It will be an horrific environment on the earth.

There will also be famines over a quarter of the earth. For, the Apostle John said that he heard the third living creature say, “Come, behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice… saying, A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barely for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and wine.

 … I looked and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name of Death …Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.”  -- (Revelation 6: 5, 6, 8. NASB). First there is the black horse bringing a shortage of food. Then the next the ashen horse and his rider bring famine and death.

Why would Christ allow the famines and pestilence? Well, people’s hearts have been so hardened that something needs to get their attention. Remember, too, that people are slaying each other. Do you think that the other three-quarters of the earth will stop and ponder if starvation, bugs, and devouring beasts are worth the life-style they are living? Maybe a few will see their Savior in Jesus Christ and ask Him to come into their heart. Could any of those who are still alive at that time turn to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ and ask to receive forgiveness and salvation? God wants people to turn to Him. Some will, but we are not told how many. I certainly pray that you are not one of those facing all the tribulations of that time period.

Even while all this is going on, we are told that there will be a major earthquake and the sun will disappear. The Apostle John was shown a vision in which “there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, … The sky split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and freeman hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.”  -- (Revelation 6: 12-14. NASB). Rich and poor, mighty and weak, it doesn’t matter who they are or how much power or wealth they have, for all will experience the same thing.

What would you do in such a situation? Would you pray to God to forgive you and protect you? Would you humble yourself before the power of the Almighty God? One would think that the people facing such horror and devastation would turn to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But sadly, that will not be the case. All these people will want to do is die, but still die without acknowledging Christ as their Savior. In fact, they will have no problem acknowledging the might of God or understanding that it is God who is controlling everything, yet they will still refuse to humble themselves and repent. Instead, we are told that they “said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand.’”  -- (Revelation 6: 16, 17. NASB). People will refuse to ask Christ to save them. How sad!

Will You Experience the Tribulation if it Occurred Today?

These are only a few of the terrible things that will happen during the Tribulation Period. This time period will be so bad that people will want to die but they cannot. So, if people know how bad this time period will be, why would they not care about avoiding it. Well, some will not know the truth of the Tribulation, others will refuse to accept Christ as their Savior even in hearing the horrors of the Tribulation to come. But as Christians we are not to worry about what another person decides to not do with their life. However, we are to share the truth, so people can make a decision either for or against Christ. This means that we not only have to tell people about the Saving Grace of Christ, but we have to also tell them about what will happen on the day of the Rapture to those who have refused to acknowledge God and His Son. We must tell people what will happen during the Tribulation Period if they are not Raptured.

Everyone needs to know about the Rapture and about the coming Tribulation Period. We cannot be remiss in spreading the Gospel message or in telling others about the Rapture and the Tribulation Period. Moreover, Christians will either receive rewards and crowns for the things we have done for the Lord or we will miss out on the rewards and crowns, because we have failed to spread the Gospel message and explain things about the kingdom of God to unbelievers. As Christians, it is our responsibility to share our knowledge of the truth of Christ’s Good News and message with other people through direct witnessing or through Active Relational Christian Mentoring. Have you shared what you know about Christ, the Rapture, and the Tribulation with anyone?

Our world is going downhill fast. Just take a look at the riots, the police shootings, the lies from politicians, the smears - whether real or made-up against a particular presidential candidate and the wars in the Middle East, not to mention the terrorist attacks here in the United States and around the world. Add to those things the loose morals, lowered ethics and the lack of values and we have a world that is on the verge of implosion. So, how close to the end times do you think that we are? Would you be willing to bet that the end of the world won’t come for another thousand years so that you can do nothing, because you think that someone else in a future generation can do it for you? Will our world make it to the next generation let alone to ten or more generations? What will you tell Jesus when He comes at the Rapture?

If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please take a moment to repent of your sins and ask Him into your heart. There is nothing scary about salvation. In fact, you will receive great peace and joy in your heart when you become a child of God. I don’t want you or anyone to go to hell, and I certainly do not want you or anyone to have to live through the Tribulation Period. For, no matter what we can imagine through the words used in the scriptures, Christ has told us that it will be a million times worse than what we imagine. Don’t take a chance that the world that you are living in is the only world there is, for there is indeed the spiritual world that God has made for us. All it takes to have eternal life and be with God forever, is belief in God and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. You just need to believe that Christ gave His life for you, taking your sins upon His shoulders, and then dying for your sins. Then if you believe that He arose from the grave the third day, conquering death, you, too, can have salvation. You will be saved!

Once you have asked Christ to forgive you and to come into your heart, you will be saved, if you truly meant it. Then, tell a friend, family member, or even a stranger that you have just accepted Christ as your Savior. You are now a child of God. Then start telling your friends and family members about the Rapture and the Tribulation Period so they, too, can decide their destiny of an eternity in hell or an eternity in heaven. You can do it! You can share the Gospel with others, and you can become an Active Relational Christian mentor!