Wednesday, November 13, 2013

LifeShape Prayer & Discipleship Module 4 – The Future Block 7 – The Tribulation


The Tribulation is a period of seven years predetermined by God at the end of this age when He will pour out the wrath of His indignation on the earth directly against the nations and the peoples on the earth who have rejected and despised Him. Romans 12:19 declares vengeance belongs to the Lord and He will repay … this is the Tribulation.

Isaiah 2 says all nations will be brought to judgment while men desperately seek a place to hide in fear from the wrath of God. Many of the prophets from Daniel to King David speak of that day as the day of reckoning for all men. The entire book of Zephaniah is devoted to this Tribulation.

Zephaniah 3:8  "Therefore wait for Me," says the LORD, "Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All my fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.

When shall these things be? This was the question asked by the disciples of Jesus and we find His answer in our key scripture:

Key Scripture: Matthew 24:14  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Jesus continues to explain what will happen in the midst of that time …

Matthew 24:15  “Therefore when you see the ’abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),”

The Tribulation is divided into two 3½ year periods. Daniel sees, and Revelation confirms, the dividing point between the first 3½ years of Tribulation and the last 3½ years of Great Tribulation is determined when the antichrist reveals his identity by entering into the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, stopping the sacrifices and declaring himself to be god. This is that abomination of desolation spoken of by Jesus. (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; and Revelation 13)

Revelation 11: 3  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

These two periods will also be marked by the two witnesses who shall stand and prophesy with power to shut up the heavens and breathe a fire which consumes their enemies. These two candlesticks of the Lord will give testimony for 1,260 days, equaling and ending the first 3 ½ years.

Revelation 11:14  The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

At that 3 ½ year mark the beast from the bottomless pit will arise with power and will kill the two witnesses. Israel’s peace treaty will be broken, the antichrist will perform miracles and cause his followers to take the mark of the beast, 666, or die. He will enter the Temple declaring himself to be god and all hell will break loose upon the earth(Revelation 11:7; 13).

Matthew 24
21  “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Many people will be saved during the Tribulation. Some will turn to Jesus as a result of the horrible catastrophes and terrible judgments, others from the testimonies of the two witnesses and their miraculous resurrections after lying dead in the streets for 3 ½ days in view of the whole earth; still others will hear the message of the special angel sent by God near the end of the Tribulation period to proclaim the Good News.

Revelation 14
6  Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people — 

Even with all of the forewarnings and the march we now see towards Armageddon, the nations of this world still fail to surrender themselves to God.

We have not begun the Tribulation period yet – believe me, you will know when we do … there will be no missing that event for anyone on the earth. When the seals begin to be opened devastation and destruction, war, famine, and death will be on a mass scale throughout the earth. Israel will be at peace, they will possess Jerusalem without question and begin to rebuild the Temple, however the rest of the world will be in turmoil.

Revelation 6:8  So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

The fourth horseman of the Apocalypse will ride his pale horse and bring death and devastation to one fourth of all humanity living on earth. That’s almost 2 billion people today … These are only the beginning of sorrows.

Some argue the Church is as yet unclean and therefore must go through the Tribulation in order to be purged and purified. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Church and every Believer has already been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is not going to give His Bride a good beating just before the marriage so she will enter into the marriage in fear and trembling, anxiously tip-toeing on pins and needles, fearfully and nervously avoiding to ever cross Him again. The Tribulation is not aimed at the saint. It is not a Protestant purgatory. The Tribulation is a cleansing opportunity for the sinner, not the saint. On another note:

Have you ever noticed the themes that run through the Bible – especially all of the “Sevens” in the Book of Revelation?

There are:
·        Seven Churches; Seven Spirits of God; Seven Golden Lamp Stands; Seven Stars; Seven Flaming Torches; Seven Seals; Seven Horns & Seven Eyes on the Lamb; Seven Trumpets; Seven Thunders; Seven Heads & Seven Diadems on the dragon; Seven Heads on the Sea Beast; Seven Plagues; Seven Bowls; Seven Mountains & Seven Kings

The 7 Seals make way for the 7 Trumpets and finally the 7 Bowls of Wrath. From painful sores to heat waves, from water turning to blood to the thick darkness which will cover the earth, from demons working miracles to the last great global earthquake which collapses the cities of the world – Tribulation is to come upon the earth and yet men will not repent. In all of this the wicked will intensify their hatred towards God and blaspheme His Holy name. With the 7th bowl heaven declares “it is done” and Jesus returns with His saints to win the Battle of Armageddon. God is so good!

There are yet Seven Blessings in the midst of all this Tribulation and woe:
·        Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy …
·        Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord
·        Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed …
·        Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper … Lamb.
·        Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection …
·        Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book
·        Revelation 22:14  Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.

Important Points
1.   The Tribulation is a seven year period in which God will pour His wrath out upon the earth.
2.   The Tribulation period is not a “Protestant Purgatory” in which Believers or the Church pays for their sins and are cleansed.
3.   Many people will be saved, martyred, and taken to heaven during the Tribulation.
4.   The beginning of the Tribulation will be marked by a false peace treaty offered to Israel which allows for the rebuilding of the Temple.
5.   The mid-point of the Tribulation will be known when the antichrist breaks that treaty and enters into the Temple and declares himself to be God. This begins the Great Tribulation period.
6.   God will bring conclusion to the Tribulation when Jesus returns with His saints in white raiment to defeat the antichrist and his armies at the Battle of Armageddon.

7.   The end of the Tribulation Period will give way for the Millennial Reign of Christ upon the earth.