Things to Come, Lesson 13, The Day of the Lord and The Great Tribulation,
In our last lesson concerning the Day of the Lord the demanding clock, by which we function, interrupted our journey through the Bible, a journey that stopped at many of the important revelations concerning the Day of the Lord.
Our travels took us past the Great Tribulation period where we were given to see the re-gathering of Godís chosen people back to the land given to their father Abraham.
God was so good to picture that re-gathering as only He could by painting a picture of dry, seemingly dead bones in an arid land.
And so does the Jew of today broadcast such an image but with God all things are possible.
For: Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
And Israel will be re-gathered and restored never again to leave their land.
For in Amos 9:15 God tells us, And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
And then Revelation 20:6-10 records those great times when Jesus Christ reigns here on the earth with His bride, the Church, with whom He has eaten the great marriage supper of the Lamb.
And also that final rebellion of Satan and his forces who will be for the last time cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Following this the resurrection of the dead takes place where all the dead will be assembled before Godís Great White throne to be judged unworthy to participate in Godís kingdom.
Revelation 20:11-15, And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
And finally following this great judgment, eternity is ushered in where we will find a new creation of heaven and earth plus the Holy City, which is the bride of Christ.
Revelation 21:1, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
And again in Revelation 22:6-7, And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
What a glorious day it will be, but only if you are in Christ!
Now in our study of things to come we have taught of the Kingdom of God, the Rapture of the Church, and its marriage to the Lamb, and the accompanying marriage supper.
We have taught of the Antichrist and the Spirit of the Antichrist.
The teaching of the Day of the Lord has given us a timeline of things to come and one of the greatest events on that timeline is that period known as the Great Tribulation.
I have touched on that period from time to time in our lessons but I would like to teach in more detail about this time to come, this time of Great Tribulation.
Jesus Christ was not neglectful as to this subject for in Matthew 24 he speaks of great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be.
He speaks of the shortening of this time for the electís sake, speaking of Israel, lest all flesh be destroyed.
Think how affected we are when we experience weather disasters as all of us here have so often experienced.
But even though the hurricanes bring such terrible results, these disasters would be counted as nothing compared to what is to come.
There is no FEMA on earth which could tend to such things.
The words of Christ about the tribulation given to us while on the earth were preceded by words he gave to us throughout the Old Testament.
One of the first passages that speak of this great event is found in:
Deuteronomy 4:30,31, When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; 31(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
The book of Isaiah is filled with references to this time of tribulation.
In Isaiah 2:19 God speaks of the results of his wrath poured out upon the earth.
And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
And in Isaiah we are reminded as to whom this earth belongs.
We are so high minded as to think we are the owners of the earth but God is sovereign and as Creator he owns everything and has foreordained consequences for every action.
For every action there is a reaction and this passage makes that law of God so clear for this passage tells of manís doings with the inclusion of Godís authoritative "therefore", Godís consequences, Godís curse.
In our day there is no such thing as a recognition of Godís "therefores" as we choose to let all barriers down without any recognition as to what happens without those barriers.
But look truth square in the face and read Isaiah 24:1-6, Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. 3The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. 4The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. 5The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
Jeremiah is not silent as to this time for he speaks of it as the time of Jacobís trouble, as suffering comparable to the travail of a woman in childbirth.
Jeremiah 30:4-7, And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. 5For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacobís trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
Ladies, You who are intimately knowledgeable of childbirth, know that there will come a day when men are given to know this suffering also for it will be a time like no other, the time of Jacobís trouble, the time before Jacobís rescue by God himself.
And the prophet Ezekiel is not left out of this revelation for he speaks of this time when Israel shall pass under the rod.
Ezekiel 20:34-38, And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. 37And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
The prophets Zechariah and Daniel and Joel and Amos add to this plethora of words concerning this time of Jacobís trouble.
It is described as a day of wrath, judgment, indignation, trial, trouble, destruction, overturning, and punishment.
A time where there is no remedy provided, no refreshing moment to relieve the suffering, misery, wrath and judgment executed by a Holy God against evil.
The main theme of the Great Tribulation is not the devilís wrath being directed against the saints, but the purpose of this period is for God to direct His wrath against the inhabitants of the earth.
No doubt Satan will make every effort to destroy Godís Israel and God will allow him to declare war on the saints.
But Godís wrath is what this period is about.
God is fully in charge and by the breath of His mouth all enemies will be vanquished.
Satan cannot take a step without Godís allowance of such a thing.
And when Satan goes as far as God allows he can go no farther and will be locked up for one thousand years.
The scriptures prove without any shadow of doubt that Godís wrath is what this time is about.
Isaiah 24:1, Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste,
Isaiah 26:21, For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity
Joel 1:15, Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Zephaniah 1:18, Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORDíS wrath;
Revelation 6:16,17, And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Revelation 11:17,18, O Lord God AlmightyÖ..And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come
Revelation 14:7, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come:
Revelation 14:10, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation;
Revelation 14:19, And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Revelation 15:4, Who shall not fear thee, O Lord,ÖÖ for thy judgments are made manifest.
Revelation 15:7, And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God,
Revelation 16:1, And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
Revelation 16:7, And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Revelation 16:19, Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
So there is no doubt that the time of Jacobís trouble is the time when God performs the great harvest of the earth and the reaper is fully an exercise of His wrath.
It is a purifying time, it is a time when God delivers on his promise to Abraham.
It is a time that brings Godís intervention fully in play, a time where the earth is prepared for the direct rule of Jesus Christ.
One of the marks of the spirit of Antichrist is the creation of a god of love.
This god is a one dimensional god designed to appeal to the flesh of man but this does not describe our God, the God of the Bible, our God known to us as Jesus Christ.
For the god of the Antichrist is not a god of righteousness but a god who turns aside from justice, judgment and purity, the god of lies.
He is not a god of exclusiveness but a god of inclusiveness.
He is an anything goes god, a grandfatherly god, a spoiler god.
Our God describes himself as a God of love but he also is a consuming fire.
God is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish but it is also true that he will not acquit the wicked for he is angry with the wicked every day.
And everything that our God does is purposeful including this horrific time of Jacobís trouble.
For this will be the time to prepare Godís elect for her Messiah.
Anything having to do with the church will be done in Heaven.
But this time is a Jewish time, it is a time for Israel to come home.
Our Lord made this fact very clear in his discourse on the mount of Olives when in Matthew 24:9-14 he said this:
9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my nameís sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
The Apostle John, the writer of the book of Revelation declares that the tribulation is the time of the Jewís redemption.
He tells of the 144,000 gospel of the kingdom tellers all coming from the tribes of the children of Israel.
His book of end times is filled with references to Jewish things, the Sabbath, the temple, the holy place, the land of Judea, the holy city Jerusalem, the twelve tribes, sacrifice and temple ritual.
The church age is an age in which God extends his Grace but that age has an end in order that Godís promises to Israel be fulfilled.
The age of Grace is not mentioned in Danielís prophesy concerning the seventy weeks of years but we have found from history that it is simply a parenthetical period in the ultimate plan of God.
The Great Tribulation is the period in the plan of God when He will resume dealings with His people, people from the loins of Abraham, the father of faith.
It is the culmination of all that God promised Abraham, and will precede the time when God, through His Son, Jesus Christ rules and reigns for 1000 years, a rule and reign of righteousness and peace.