Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

The Great Tribulation

It’s at the height of Israel’s rejection of Christ as Messiah and just before His crucifixion that Jesus unveils a broad, general overview of the future in His Olivet Discourse with His disciples as they sit together with Him on the Mount of Olives just outside the city of Jerusalem. This Olivet Discourse is found in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13  and Luke 21.

The future Jesus describes  is much worse than anyone could imagine.  We’re not headed towards utopia and world peace.  Just the opposite is true.  It’s only going to get worse, before Jesus is inaugurated as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and turns this sin-cursed world around.

In this Church Age, and in this Time of the Gentiles there are more false Christians than true Christians and there are  more false teachers, than true teachers of God’s Word,

This age is characterized by wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, such as earthquakes,  tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods. This is an age of famines and plagues.  Persecution and martyrdom of Christians has continued ever since the Church began at Pentecost and continues to this day and will continue through the Tribulation.

All of this is the culmination of Redemptive history which will bring about the end of sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness.  All of these things Jesus spoke of on the Mount of Olives, had been prophesied throughout the Old Testament by prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah and Malachi.  

The first prophet to prophesy of the Return of Christ in glory was Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam.  Read of him in Genesis 5:18-24 and again in Jude 14.  Note that Enoch never died. Like Christians in the coming Rapture, he was caught up alive into Heaven.  

As we see prophecy unfold before our eyes, we recognize it as evidence of Christ’s omniscience, truthfulness and omnipotence to control all these events.

THE RAPTURE

The next event on God’s calendar is the catching up into Heaven of the glorified bodies of Christians worldwide, instantly, in the twinkling of an eye.  This event is not referred to in the Olivet Discourse.  It is a promise to Christ’s Church.  The Apostle Paul was given the privilege of unfolding this truth.  He speaks of it in I Corinthians 15:51-58  and again in I Thessalonian 4:13-18, 5:2,9,  Titus 2:11-13. It is also taught in Hebrews 9:28 and I John 3:1-3  Jesus also made the  first reference to it in John 14:1-3.

THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Upon the catching up or rapture of Christians to Heaven, the Anti-christ will be revealed on this earth and will immediately make a peace treaty to protect the Jews.   The world will be glad to see Christians gone and will welcome the Anti-christ as the peace maker they have so longed for. Read the following passages of Scripture for information concerning the Anti-christ and the beginning of the Tribulation, which interestingly will last for exactly seven years.  Daniel 9,  Matthew 24,  II Thessalonians 2,  and Revelation chapter 6-18,

For more concerning the Tribulation and the Seventy Weeks of Years, go to my PROPHECY link and study # 13, The Seventy Weeks

In the middle of the Tribulation, the Anti-christ will break his covenant with the Jews and will defile the Jewish temple by putting an image of himself in the Holy Place, demanding the world worship him as god.  That will signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the pouring out of God’s Judgments on the earth. 

These last three and a half years will be the worst this world has ever seen.  It will be the environmentalists worst nightmare with bitter rivers, bloody oceans, meteors falling to the earth, gigantic earthquakes, and the disappearance of islands and mountains from the face of the earth. 

All of this is described in the opening of seven seals from Revelation 6:1 through 8:1.  As the seventh seal is opened, seven trumpets sound bringing in more terrifying events recorded in Revelation 8-11. and as the seventh trumpet sounds, Revelation 16 announces seven more bowls or vials of judgment that will be poured out on the earth.

EVANGELISM DURING THE TRIBULATION

 

During the Tribulation 144,000 Jews, (not Jehovah Witnesses) exactly 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, will take the Gospel to the world. This is mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 and 14.   In addition,  two witnesses, perhaps two Old Testament prophets, will return to earth to preach the Gospel. Their story is told in Revelation 11.  Read about their death and resurrection at this time.   In addition to the 144,000 Jews and the two witnesses, an angel spoken of in Revelation 14:6 will fly around the world preaching the Gospel for the final time.  How many will be saved from all of this evangelism, we do not know. Those saved will refuse to worship the Anti-christ and be martyred. Their souls be caught up into Heaven.

THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

 

The final event of the Great Tribulation will be Christ’s returning to earth to fight His enemies in the Battle of Armageddon. It will be fought in the plains of Megiddo. You can read of this battle in Revelation 14 and 16. Christ will be victorious and bring an end to The Great Tribulation as the Anti-christ and the false prophet are cast alive into the eternal  Lake Of Fire. 

The earth will experience the final terrible hours of the curse of sin and then Christ will renew the earth, remove the curse from it and it will become once more somewhat like the Garden of Eden.  Christ will come to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  This coming will be His visible, glorious return to earth to reign, in contrast to the Rapture; that is, the secret return of Christ to catch up all Christian from the earth seven years earlier just before the Tribulation is unleashed on this earth.

Also Zechariah 12 and 13 prophesy of  the Jews returning as a nation  to Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour.  Christ will reign over the earth for one thousand years.  You can read more about that under PROPHECY  in the articles on The Millennium.  Also you can read a brief summary of the Millennium in Revelation 20.

If you have never yet put your trust in Christ, today is the day of salvation. Don’t put it off.  One second after the Rapture has taken place, it will be too late for you, according to II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

What must you do to be saved?  Get over your pride and admit you are a sinner who cannot save himself by his good works.  Believe that Jesus is God in human flesh and that He came into this world to die on a cross to bear the punishment for your sins.  Receive Him by faith. He will forgive your sins, come to live in your heart by His Holy Spirit and regenerate you, making you a new person who hates sin and loves righteousness.  No, you won’t be perfect until you are in Heaven.  But when you sin, confess it to God and the blood that saved you will continue to wash away that sin.  Read I John 5:11-13  and get this decision settled once and for all right now.

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Olivet Discourse | Comments Off on The Great Tribulation

Complainers

Our modern culture is breeding self-absorbed,  complaining snobs.  We complain about everything: including the weather, traffic,  food, standing in lines,  the temperature, as well as most everything else.

 

We Christians are being infected by the world as we blindly imbibe the world’s philosophy through its media.  We have become “what’s in it for me” Christians.

 

The more indulged we are, the more sullen, complaining and self-absorbed we become.  Next to pride,  few sins are uglier to God and to all of us than  complaining.   The current over-emphasis on self esteem helps feed this sin.

 

It was the same in Paul’s day. That’s why in Philippians 2:14-16 he warns the Philippian Christians to beware of  complaining and disputing. Those complaints and disputes are ultimately with God who controls our circumstances.

 

COMPLAIN AND GRIPING, A SIN FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME

 

Complaining and griping have been with the human race from the beginning of time.   When Adam disobeyed God in the  Garden of  Eden, when confronted by God, he blamed Him. “The woman YOU gave me caused me to eat the forbidden fruit.” 

 

When Cain was punished by God for bringing the wrong kind of sacrifice, he complained to God about his punishment. “My punishment is greater than I can bear.”

 

When God chose Moses to lead Israel out of their bondage of 400 years in Egypt,  Israel complained against Moses repeatedly as they traveled through the wilderness.  Miriam, Moses’ older sister, complained to Moses and was struck with leprosy. Patient Moses prayed for her and she was healed. 

 

COMPLAING AND GRIPING ARE CONTAGIOUS

 

While traveling through the wilderness,  three men: Korah, Dathan and Abiram complained against Moses and his leadership. God was furious with these three men and as they stood by their tents with their families, the earth opened up under them and these three men with their families and all they possessed were swallowed and buried alive.  That put a stop to the complaining of Israel for awhile.

 

When Israel was about to enter their Promised Land of Canaan, they sent spies into the land to see if they could conquer it.  Ten of twelve spies brought back an evil, pessimistic report.   They led the people to complain against Moses and against God.  God punished the older generation by allowing them to continue wandering in the wilderness for forty more years until all that generation had died.  Then the younger generation led by Joshua entered and conquered the land.

 

NO GRIPING TOLERATED

 

That was the sign that greeted me over the door inside every dormitory room at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. when I came there as a Freshman student in the Fall of 1952. “No griping tolerated: Constructive suggestions appreciated.”   I don’t know whether those signs were ever removed, but I know that if I had any thoughts of griping, that put a stop to it right there. With over three thousand students at that time, can you imagine how quickly griping could have spread through the entire student body if it got started? Since griping is a sin, that was a wise rule.

 

COMPLAINING AND GRIPING ARE UGLY SINS

 

In Romans 9 we learn the truth of God’s sovereign election.  That is, He makes us with our strengths and weaknesses for His own divine purpose.  In verse 20 we are warned against griping and complaining. “Nay, but O Man, who are you to reply against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, ‘Why hast Thou made me thus? Has not the potter the power and the right over the clay to make one vessel for honorable purposes and another for dishonorable purposes?”  God can make a Billy Graham to preach before tens of  millions and  counsel with ten US presidents.  He can make a Mal Bicker to preach to small congregations all his life.  We have no right to question nor complain against His sovereign will.

 

HOW TO BE VICTORIOUS OVER COMPLAINING

 

In Philippians 2:12-13  Paul told us how to avoid a life of complaining and griping.  We are to concentrate on working out the salvation that God worked in when we put our trust in Christ.   Furthermore, in verse 14 we are shown the attitude with which we are to live our lives- without complaining and disputing.   James 5:7-11 teaches the same truth and reminds us the Judge stands just outside the door.  Remember as a kid when you use to complain to a brother or sister about something in the privacy of your bedroom and then you found Mom or Dad standing just outside the door listening to everything?  That was a panicky feeling, was it not?   Remember that the next time you complain.  Christ, the Judge stands just outside the door about to return.

 

Don’t complain.  Rather, remember the goodness of God. Psalm 77.

 

WHY WE SHOULD NOT COMPLAIN

 

1. We should not complain for our own sakes.  Complaining Christians are not attractive.  They are depressing to be around.  People avoid them.

 

2. Titus 2:10 challenges us to adorn the Gospel of Christ and the reality of being Christians  by our lives. Paul, in Philippians 2:14-15 writes, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings that ye may be blameless and harmless, the Son of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in a dark world.

 

3. Finally, Paul challenges the Philippian Christians to live such a positive, joyful life that even if he has to be sacrificed and martyred for preaching the Gospel, he may rejoice for the blessed privilege of  helping them become joyful Christians.  If you have such a pastor, bless him by not being a complainer, but a rejoicer and encourager.

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Philippians | Comments Off on Complainers