Things to Come, Lesson 14, The Great Tribulation, Part 2,
In our first lesson on the Great Tribulation period we ended by reading a long list of verses from Isaiah to Revelation.
These verses proved that 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 who are under the direction of Satanís man, the Antichrist.
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 and made for the direct rule of Jesus Christ.
Now, as we have said before, 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.
Oh, how we see the seed of this fruit being planted and nurtured in our time as the nations surrounding Israel fine tune their hatred for the Jew.
Think about the clay, representing people, mixed with iron, representing force, spoken of by the Prophet Daniel for we are seeing in our day another step toward the fulfillment of this mix of clay and iron in the so called Arab Spring.
This is simply preparation for the great harvest which God plans to gather in the time of Jacobís trouble.
God intends for this hatred to be perfected in a great gathering whereby Jesus Christ will come and take vengeance upon those who know not God, thus saving His people.
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 for God never forgets or alters His promises.
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.
It is truly an age of Grace and we who believe are recipients of Godís benefits.
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.
It is a time when God deals with His people whom he has been nurturing since Abraham in order for them to enter into the promised kingdom and to have all that was promised to Abraham, the father of faith.
It is a time when they will finally accept their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ when he returns and stands on the Mount of Olives.
Zechariah 14:1-4, Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
God prepares his people for this by sending forth Jewish missionaries throughout the world who will preach of the coming kingdom.
John the Baptist announced Christís first coming and of his kingdom but the Jews rejected his message and crucified their King.
But the announcement that the king is coming brought by the 144,000 missionaries, will result in multitudes being saved.
Revelation 7:9, After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
These will come out of the Great Tribulation and will enter into the glorious kingdom which Jesus Christ establishes on this earth.
It will be a time like no other time known on the earth for the devil will have been bound, wicked men will have been judged, a time when the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of God.
Jeremiah 31:34, And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
It will be a time without wars and rumors of wars for all the metal of warfare will be turned into useful things like plowshares and pruning hooks, things of benefit to man instead of things used to destroy.
The songs of Christmas that speak of good will toward men will be truly sung for peace on earth and good will to men can only come under the rule of Jesus Christ.
But all this cannot happen without God judging His enemies and putting down wickedness in all the earth.
Now we know from a study of Daniel that the Tribulation period takes place during the seventieth week of that period where the Jew is prominent.
We are not living in any of the weeks of the seventy weeks for we are in the age of grace, which is an age of the prominence of the gentiles.
The Jew has been scattered and disorganized for this period known as the church age but the seventieth week will be a seven year period devoted to Godís wrapping up of his plans to bring the nation Israel and its people into His kingdom.
That which we have seen in our time concerning Israel is but the firstfruits of Godís gathering of the Jew to their God given land and a thorn in the flesh of the clay and iron which is gathering for its destruction in the tribulation period.
The 69the week of course ended where Messiah was cut off, where Jesus Christ was crucified, and there has been an interval of time now almost 2000 years before the seventieth week is introduced.
God has used this time to extend his Grace, seeking and saving that which was lost.
The tribulation period is divided into two parts, parts of three and one half years each.
The last part will be a time of extreme severity and it is this last part that carries the name of the Great Tribulation.
Daniel spoke of this week however God did not give him what was to take place during this time and told him to seal up the book.
Daniel 12:4,8,9, But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
So Daniel was not privy to anything but the knowledge that Michael, the Archangel gave him concerning this as a time of trouble which should come upon his people Israel, at the time of the end.
Of course this time of the end was the end of the seventy weeks, that time where Jacobís trouble was to reach its zenith.
We are very fortunate for we are privy to the knowledge from which Daniel was kept, for God revealed the knowledge of this time of the end to John, the disciple whom He loved, who was exiled to the Island called Patmos.
Patmos is a small volcanic, treeless island of 6 by 30 miles off the western coast of modern Turkey.
The vision of Revelation was given to John around AD95, a time when John was an old man.
Revelation 1:9-11, I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lordís day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia;
So that which God commanded Daniel to seal has been opened to us in the book of Revelation as written down by the disciple that Jesus loved.
Godís love acts and so it did in Johnís life by him being given the privilege of writing what he was to see, resulting in this great book called Revelation.
We skip over the first chapters of this book for it concerns the history of the church and move to Revelation 5:1-5 where John was given to see a book with seven seals.
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Again we see seals. Daniel was told to shut up the words and seal the book.
And now again we are given to see a book appear in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, sealed with seven seals.
John weeps for it seems that he too, like Daniel, will not be allowed to know what is in the book.
But we see here a Savior, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David stepping forth to break the seals of Revelation to John.
John saw not the lion or the root of David but he saw in the midst of the throne a Lamb as it had been slain who took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
And great worship rang out in heaven for the seals were about to be broken and Godís will was about to be exercised.
And John beheld: ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
It is easy to believe that John was dumbfounded upon being witness to such things for he had been chosen to bring to the earth that which was to come forth on the earth.
The seals were about to be broken and John was called by one of the four beasts to Come and see!
Revelation 6:1,2, And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
So here we are given to see what takes place at the beginning of the seventieth week.
We are not to jump to the conclusion that this rider on a white horse is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember Antichrist means against Christ but it also means alongside Christ.
This rider on a white horse is the Antichrist, copying the Christ who will indeed later come on a white horse and that later time is gloriously described in Revelation 19:11-16.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
God is the Creator, Satan is the imitator and can simply counterfeit the true Messiah by coming on a white horse with a bow and a crown.
Compare that with the description of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upon whose head were many crowns, with a vesture dipped in blood.
The Antichrist is described with a bow, no arrow, and a crown that was given him.
He is described as going forth conquering and to conquer.
I believe this describes what the world is getting ready for.
The world is longing for leadership and this one who comes in the name of Satan, this one known as the man of sin, who will cater to the basic nature of man will be given power and authority gladly for he will promise heaven on earth.
He will conquer without bloodshed, through flattery, guile and superhuman promises.
The problem with Israel will be solved by his great convincing words and a covenant will be made with the people of Israel.
We are seeing in our time rampant chaos, turmoil, confusion and disruption but this is only a taste of what is to come
For these conditions will provide a platform for this leader to rise to the top and be gladly chosen by the world to lead it forth into peace and prosperity.
Satanís man will offer such wise solutions to the problems of the world that he will be given the crown of the earth to rule and reign upon it.
And for the first three and one half years the world will enjoy a period of peace.
So great will be the appeal of this man that we are told when he sits in the temple announcing himself as God the people will worship him as God.