Chronological Timeline of the Events in Tribulation
This article is intended as an addendum to my END OF DAYS article as it isn’t included there. Of course there is a lot more than what is covered here but this article should give you some concern for yourself, your family and friends.
Matthew 24: 3 – 22, 29 – 31.
3. And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7. For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (many) 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11. And many false prophets shall rise and deceive many. 12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16. Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: 17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: 21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds with power and great glory. 31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
You cannot read this and not conclude that Tribulation will be the most fearful time on earth for both believers and unbelievers. Both camps will be affected in different ways but there is a glorious ending for those who believe - not so for those who don't. Daniel 9: 27 tells us the Tribulation will last for 7 years and will be divided into 2 consecutive periods of 3.5 years each. The following is only a brief outline, of which is soon to begin.
Very early in the first half, the two witnesses Moses and Elijah, are resuscitated to oversee the building of the 3rd temple and to direct the 144,000 Jewish men living throughout the world who return back to God - and they are to preach the gospel to all parts of the world. They go out 2 x 2, each with a companion into the world as in Luke 10: 1 - and their ministry is for 3.5 years or 42 months.
The anti-Christ, who has not yet risen or indwelled by Satan but is alive right now, will rise to power by duplicity and seductive, deceitful methods. (Daniel 11: 21 - 45.) This man is the prince of the covenant and after he brokers that, which is Day One of the first half of Tribulation, he returns to his own country (the USA, which is Mystery Babylon) and quickly rises to power in the beginning of the first half of Tribulation but he will come in a manner far outside the norm of political methods. And then to further his deceit and winning converts, he sets about a campaign against ‘the king of the south’ (IS) and is victorious, drawing many into his web of deceit. He will be seen as a saviour to the world’s problems - and those who are watching for it will know who he is when he rises. This is not at all the way he will appear to the world and to those looking for a religious solution, he will seem to be the true Messiah.
He is more than likely a Jew, born in the year 2000, with extensive knowledge of the Jewish custom and is significant that Jesus was born a little over 2000 years ago and began His ministry at age 30, which only lasted 3 years and then He was killed. It would stand to reason that by mimicking God and Jesus, the devil's son being the anti-Christ would be a similar age to Jesus when he rises to absolute power, indwelled by Satan in the beginning of the second half of Tribulation. In mimicking God, Satan will create his own religion by way of the false prophet and many will follow it. Satan's objective is to crush and eradicate all forms of the Christian faith by whatever means.
In 2nd Thessalonians 2, Paul gives us an insight into the things that will happen prior to and in the beginning of Tribulation and in the first few verses he tells us of the start of the 'falling away' which culminates exponentially in the 2nd half. Also prior to the 1st half the Holy Spirit (the restrainer) is taken out of the way, which opens the path for the Tribulation to begin. That is not to say that he will leave us comfortless, he will always be in us to help and guide us - he is only taken out of Satan's way, not out of ours. The 'son of perdition' will be revealed just prior to Tribulation beginning - some who understand will recognise him as the anti-Christ when he rises to political power, most won't realise it until he takes his seat in the rebuilt temple proclaiming himself as God, being indwelt by Satan at that time. It is now clear just by observing world events, (meaning every calamity that you can think of) that are happening beyond our control and is going to get worse, a lot worse.
When the covenant is signed in Israel, brokered by the anti-Christ, the prophetic clock is restarted to count down the 7 years of Tribulation, which was stopped after the death of Jesus.
There are 21 judgements over the whole period beginning with the 7 seals, which are an overview of the trends of the entire period and are actual events but are not literally characterised as a set timeline. The first 4 are in the first half, followed by the 7 trumpet judgements, (6 in the first half, the 7th in the second) then followed by the 7 bowl judgements (or vials) in the second half. The seals give a preview of the nature of the Tribulation from the outside before one can look in and see the details. The 7th seal opens the book and the book is the Revelation of Christ. Thus the 7th seal begins the final chapter of human history whose prologue is the Tribulation, which precedes the ‘day of the Lord’ when Jesus will be revealed. The book cannot be opened until all of the seals are released. As each seal is opened, a glimpse of what it contains comes to light but the 7th seal is different because when it is finally opened, the book itself is now finally revealed and the ‘end times’ begin.
The first 42 months of the Tribulation (3.5 years) is the 'beginnings of birth pangs' and is taken up with the rise and conquest by the anti-Christ in Mystery Babylon and Rome, which leads to the two campaigns against the 'king of the south' and is over the first 15 months. It is followed with a half-year of reprieve, which is the 1/2 hour of silence in heaven (Revelation 8: 1) and is a further period of grace for the church visible ‘once the clock starts to run out’ as Tribulation begins. You could say this is the last warning for the church visible and is 21 months after the Tribulation begins. The trumpet judgements will commence after this 1/2 hour of silence, and at the completion of the first six trumpet judgements the first half of Tribulation finishes. This culminates in Christ’s return and His judgements at the END of Tribulation - 7 years after it begins, then His 1000 year reign begins on earth.
So the 7th seal is very important, even though it doesn’t have a trend or event associated with it: It begins them all.
None of the following can happen until the restrainer (the Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way opening the path for Tribulation to begin. Even now the whole world is in turmoil but it will seem like a picnic when that happens.
The first half of Tribulation has four major trends spoken of in Revelation 6.
- The first horse is a white horse and its rider represents the anti-Christ and his rise to power and coincides with the signing of the peace treaty and the warfare that follows.
- The second horse is a red horse and its rider represents civil discord – lawlessness and political destabilisation.
- The third horse is a black horse and its rider represents economic dislocation and famine and starvation.
- The fourth horse is a pale green horse and its rider represents accelerated mortality and widespread plague and death and has power over the fourth part of the earth and to kill with the sword and with the beasts of the earth. The four horsemen are representative of the unholy trinity - Satan, the Anti-Christ and the false prophet.
Every one of these 21 judgements will be on a scale not yet even imaginable and as each one progresses, no-one will be in any doubt as to what is happening. Some who are just lukewarm now will be shaken out of apathy and my sincere hope is that many unbelievers will also have a change of heart and come to Jesus while His hand is still outstretched in love before it's too late.
The 7 trumpet judgements are seen in a vision by John, which follows the 1/2 hour of silence and begins around the halfway point of the first half of Tribulation, i.e. 21 months after the signing of the covenant and each one has a specific time-frame.
1st trumpet - lasts for 1 month, preceded by an earthquake with hail and fire mingled with blood. 1/3 of vegetation is stricken and all green grass burnt up.
2nd trumpet - lasts for 2 months and 1/3 of the sea is stricken by what appears as a great mountain burning with fire which is thrown into the sea and becomes as blood with 1/3 of the fish dying and 1/3 of the ships destroyed.
3rd trumpet - lasts for 3 months and 1/3 of fresh water is stricken by a star falling from heaven known as ‘wormwood’ and many men die because the water is made bitter.
4th trumpet - lasts for 4 months and the ‘heavenly lights’ are stricken with 1/3 of the sun and the moon and the stars darkened and the day shone not for a third part of it and the night likewise.
5th trumpet – lasts for 5 months and is the 1st woe, which becomes demon harassment in the form of locusts like scorpions and great power was given to them to cause harm. They are commanded not to hurt the grass or trees, or any green thing but only those unbelievers, without the seal of God in their foreheads – they are commanded not to kill but to repeatedly torment them for 5 months as when a scorpion strikes a man but far worse. And in these days, men shall seek death but will not find it. One woe is past and behold, there comes 2 woes more hereafter.
6th trumpet – lasts for six months and is the 2nd woe, which is demon attack. John hears a voice to the 6th angel with the trumpet to loose the 4 fallen angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. They release a demonic army of 200,000,000 and they kill 1/3 of the population. (Remember that the pale green horse of the 4th seal causes 1/4 of the geographical area of the earth’s population to perish, this now adds up to a significant number of the population - and all this is in the first half!) The horses in this demonic army have power to kill 3 ways – the heads of the horses were as lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents and had heads, and with them they do hurt. You would think that such a supernatural event over 6 months would cause man to repent and turn to God but no, not many will.
This brings us to the end of the first half of Tribulation.
The events in the 1st half are mainly directed at unbelievers by God but believers will be indirectly affected also. It is the 2nd half when Satan indwells the anti-Christ that believers will suffer the most.
7th trumpet – marks the beginning of the second half of Tribulation and this judgement lasts for the entire second half and overlaps the bowl judgements. This 7th trumpet is of importance as it gives sundry warnings.
The second half of Tribulation still has two major seal trends to complete:
- Persecution and death of the martyrs beginning with the 144,000 and also marks the start of the second half, simultaneously with the 7th trumpet, followed by the martyrdom of the saints. This trend also lasts for the entirety of the second half.
- Signs – a great earthquake, the sun becomes black, the moon as blood, stars fall from heaven, mountains and islands move out of place, and men hide themselves in fear.
The second woe is past; and, behold the third woe cometh quickly. At the beginning of the second half, Satan and his minions are thrown out of heaven and cast down to earth where he indwells the anti-Christ’s body and creates havoc on the earth. He enters the temple and declares himself as God where he stops the oblations and sacrifices. The two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, a thorn in the anti-Christ's side in the first half are finally killed by the anti-Christ (allowed by God) in the beginning of the second half of Tribulation. Then quickly followed by the martyrdom of the 144,000 Jewish men living in the world, (raised by God and are under the direction of Moses and Elijah) who will preach the gospel throughout the entire world – then those saints who are to be killed, giving their lives for Jesus. Satan, now indwelled in the anti-Christ’s body, has absolute power - until the end of Tribulation.
It must be remembered that God's seal, given to all believers will protect us from certain events during Tribulation but it will not protect you against martyrdom. If God has marked you for martyrdom nothing will change that but it does guarantee salvation because you gave your life for Jesus. This is something that must be settled in your heart beforehand as many will yield under this pressure seeking to save their lives - Luke 12: 4, Jesus says, And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Those of us who are marked for martyrdom will need to be in the same mind as Jesus - He was looking past the cross.
It was expedient that one should die for many - in the end many will die for one.
Satan, now in the anti-Christs body (meaning in the beginning of the 2nd half of Tribulation) will cause the false prophet to stand up who will coerce all the fallen religions to worship the anti-Christ through a one-world religion. (I believe the false prophet is either this Pope or the next, as he has recently said that all religions should combine into one. When this comes about - how many Catholics might blindly follow the Pope's directions and take the mark.) And he is given power by Satan, who commands that an image be built, (by unbelievers) which has the ability to speak and everyone is to worship it – failing to do so will result in death. Rather than a statue as an image, with today’s technology it could well be a highly developed hologram. It is the false prophet who commands and forces many unbelievers and also many believers who aren't really believers at all, to receive the mark of the beast in their hand or forehead, disallowing any who refuse it to be able to buy and sell anything. You won’t be killed for refusing the mark but for refusing to worship Satan. True believers won't take the mark, choosing the very real possibility of death instead.
And now comes a warning:
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ACCEPT THE MARK OF THE BEAST. Not under any circumstances – even unto death. Anyone who gets the mark is already dead – their names will be erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Everyone’s name is in His Book from the beginning of the world, even every unbelievers name is there until, either by the wilful act of accepting the mark, or sadly, remaining as an unbeliever until death, which will seal their fate in both instances. Revelation 13: 8. There are no excuses here and everyone will receive the warning, which means it will be audible. Those who take the mark shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God and is poured out into the cup of His indignation without mixture, which indicates there will be no mercy mixed with this judgement.
And this is the point of no return – your very last chance for salvation.
The first 2.5 years of the second half of Tribulation will be taken up with the 7th trumpet and the persecution and death of many believers who choose death over taking the mark and can't even yet be imagined. Only God knows who He has marked for martyrdom and I can only think there will be many lukewarm believers in that category also.
The 7 trumpet judgements are all warnings, bowl judgements are punitive in nature and will affect unbelievers in a direct way but believers may be indirectly affected to some degree - we will need to put all our trust in Him.
The bowl or vial judgements – the worst of all, begin 2.5 years after the second half begins (to the end) and are ALL concentrated in one 12 month period of 7 judgements with each judgement lasting from 12 months for the first – to 6 months for the 7th. So instead of a single event with which to cope, we shall be faced with a continual layering of events, overlapping each other, unprecedented in their character and will occur one after the other in ascending intensity.
Bowl #1 lasts for 12 months and is characterised by the visible, noisome and grievous sores that break out on everyone who accepts the mark and I think far worse than the plague of leprosy. These sores will be extremely painful and incurable.
#2 lasts for 11 months and ALL the seas turn to blood and every living thing in it dies.
#3 lasts for 10 months and ALL the rivers turn to blood and many men will die.
#4 lasts for 9 months and the sun increases in heat and scorches men – except those with God’s seal. Isaiah 30: 26 says in part: Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of 7 days. And I take comfort in Isaiah 49: 10, which speaks of God's awesome keeping power: They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. Hebrews 13: 5, which says in part and gives me encouragement: I will never leave thee, nor will I forsake thee. Isn't that a beautiful promise to all those who will face Tribulation.
#5 lasts for 8 months and is total darkness but only envelops the seat of the beast and his kingdom, which is intensely palpable.
#6 lasts for 7 months and the Euphrates is dried up so that the way of the kings of the east is prepared – and 3 unclean spirits come out of the mouths of Satan, the anti-Christ and the false prophet who go forth to the kings of the world to gather them to the battle of Armageddon.
#7 lasts for 6 months and there were voices and thunders and lightning with hail stones containing blood and weighing about 35 kg. There is a great earthquake – greater than any since men were upon the earth (the magnitude of this event would suggest tall buildings will fall throughout the world - Ezekiel 38: 20) and the ‘great city’ was divided into 3 parts and Mystery Babylon is in remembrance before God to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath - Revelation 18: 3 – 10. But still, men will not repent.
We can now see why the second half is so terrifying.
And so now you must be thinking – when does all this begin? Well, there are clues – and I don’t mean when Jesus returns, no-one knows that day. So let’s examine the clues that tell us when Tribulation begins starting with the Fig Tree parable – Matthew 24: 32 – 34, which says: Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Bear in mind that Jesus told this parable immediately after what He said in verses 29 - 31. So how do we understand this?
I always thought that ‘this generation’ was in the time of Jesus – but it isn’t. Jesus was saying at that time but meaning now, when you see Israel re-blooming, your generation would be the one on earth and living when the last days occur. If Israel was destroyed in 70 AD and its inhabitants scattered, when did Israel bloom again? History has the answer – May 14th 1948 is when history records it. The generation that witnessed that – those born shortly after W.W.2, most are still alive and we are those that Jesus said would be alive when the last days begin. We are they who shall see all these things. I think this prophecy has been partly fulfilled. So if the fig tree parable has been correctly interpreted and God has given us 70 years, or if by reason of strength, 80 years, then 1948 + 70 = 2018 or 1948 + 80 = 2028. Using God’s allotted human life span, (i.e. a time in between a span of 10 years) the time for the commencement of Tribulation can’t be dismissed yet.
However, I don’t believe that God in His mercy would leave us guessing about a time between 10 years as in the fig tree parable - it is just too important to guess, so I believe there is a more absolute way of determining the beginning of Tribulation. I would ask that you consider for a moment, certain facts that the Bible tells us, which are: The Tribulation lasts for 7 years, (1 week = 7 years) Daniel 9: 27, Jesus will return at the end of that time, Matthew 24: 29 – 31. So there is no reason why God would withhold the start time of Tribulation because we already know that Jesus returns 7 years after it begins. Even though the actual day that it begins isn’t yet known, (until the anti-Christ brokers the signing of the covenant, which is Day One) there is compelling scriptural evidence of what year it will begin, so we will know. This comes from Hosea 6: 2 and 3 which says: After two days He will revive us: in the third day He will raise us up in His sight and we shall live in His sight.
(Revive is meaning the dead in Christ are raised first, followed by those alive – 1st Thessalonians 4: 16 - 18.) And in part of verse 3: Then we shall know if we follow on to know the Lord: which is confirming verse 2 and what follows.
The two days relates to two millennial days and is the 2000 years after the death of Jesus, which is the 6th millennial day of human existence and is almost finished – Adam to Abraham 2000 years, Abraham to Jesus 2000 years, Jesus to now 2000 years, which is also known as the church age with the 1000 years of the millennium to come. That church age is the period of time or grace between the 69th and 70th week, Daniel 9: 24 - 27, where the prophetic clock was stopped. Jesus was killed in 33 AD and then adding the known church age, which also includes Tribulation and comes to 2033, and then by subtracting the 7 years of Tribulation, we arrive at 2026 for the start of Tribulation. I believe the fig tree parable was spoken by Jesus to confound some at that time who didn’t really believe, which Paul confirms in 2nd Corinthians 4: 3, 4 and even today because of the 10 year differential. This is giving a specific year and makes sense to me – I don’t know of any other scripture that points to it so clearly. The third day is the last millennial day and is the 1000 years that Jesus reigns on earth after which, Satan is released to deceive all those who are the few unbelievers that manage to make it through Tribulation, who for reasons of their own refuse the mark, otherwise none would ever survive Tribulation. No-one with the mark will enter the millennium – and they will still be given opportunity to repent after re-populating the earth because they refused it. This isn’t a second chance so to speak, you only get one shot at this and that must be before you die, whenever that is, and this is how it will be for the unbelievers who are not risen in the first resurrection with believers but live to make the right choice in the millennium. But there will still be some who still won’t believe, even after seeing Him, which is why Satan will be released at the end of the 1000 years to try and deceive those in the millennium – of which there will be many. So many find it hard to understand the mercy and grace of God – are we living in the days of Noah now, with the last week soon to arrive? I believe we are.
Something to think on as the day approaches - the 4 phases of spiritual growth,
1. Forward Progress: which is reading your Bible and/or ichthys.com as much as you can - at least 10-15 minutes daily and we can all find that, barring emergencies. There was a time when gold could be found lying on the surface of the ground but not any more, you have to dig for it. And that is the same as a superficial reading of the Bible - there is gold in the Bible but you have to dig for it. Forward progress will always attract Satan's attention because we're all in 'enemy territory' while we are here. Daily prayer, don't ever let Satan fool you into thinking you don't need to regularly pray, or you haven't got much to pray about, how else can you know Him and have a relationship with Him? The avenue for communication is prayer and you can do that at any time. God's 'phone' is never switched off - the line is always open. The more you pray the more the Spirit will come to you and that's a wonderful thing. Having sweet fellowship with like-minded people and always being ready to help and encourage others who don't yet know Jesus, which is our given mission. You never know where you might find a lost sheep or when God will bring one across your path. And if God does bring a lost sheep across your path, be very careful in what you say and try to season your words with salt to create a thirst for Jesus.
2. Standing still: which is infrequent reading, not praying as much as you should, which means the Spirit's visits will become less. You are still saved but at risk of losing your grip on Jesus' hand. Standing still is almost as dangerous as sliding backwards, which is a transition stage before sliding backwards - you could go either way. Without forward progress you can become careless of God's gift.
3. Sliding backwards: you rarely read or pray and the Spirit is trying to win you back to Jesus. Trying to absorb as much knowledge through a 'crash course' in Bible reading either just before or after Tribulation begins will only leave you spiritually unprepared to face it. As long as you haven't turned away from Jesus completely by rejecting Him, you are still saved but there is a very real danger of falling away and perhaps taking the mark in the intense persecution of Tribulation. This is the most dangerous condition to find yourself in. Point 2 and mainly point 3 are the lukewarm of Laodicea.
4. Apostasy:..........I'm sure you know what that means by now.
A little more on believing - Can you lose salvation after it is given? Yes, you can. Salvation is in 2 parts, firstly when you first believed and then fully after death, either if that's before or during Tribulation or if raised alive at the end. Salvation must be in 2 parts simply because we are still here after receiving it - we remain here as a witness before others as we haven't been 'taken home' yet. This first part is an interim or probationary period to demonstrate that our faith is genuine or that it isn't. But there are some who will try to convince you otherwise, i.e. those who believe that once God has given salvation, nothing can take it away - they are the believers of OSAS, Once Saved Always Saved and that is very dangerous thinking. Yes Jesus' love for us is unconditional but salvation is conditional - what you do after salvation is given will determine whether you remain saved and I'm not talking about good works, which won't save you, you are saved only by His grace as long as you continue and that's the requirement that makes it conditional. We all sin in some form every day - not that we want to, which is why we are told to repent and confess our sins on a daily basis. Satan is quick to remind us of our past - so whenever he does that, remind him of his future.
A little on being lost - As an analogy, every sailor knows that without suitable ground tackle and setting the anchor correctly, shipwreck and possible loss of the ship will result if careful setting of the anchor has been neglected. When the 'storms of life' come and your anchor isn't firmly anchored in Jesus, you may suffer shipwreck on a lee shore in Eternity.
Genesis 6: 3 says in part, My Spirit shall not always strive with man and if you reject Him by no longer believing in Him - YOU ARE LOST, it's as simple as that. Read and understand the 4 types of ground in the parable of the sower.
A little on prayer - We must never think of prayer as an obligation, it is a privilege, not an obligation. There is nothing difficult about praying, just think of how a child talks to their parents with a love that is so obvious, and isn't that what we are - His children? It has been said before that the garments of Heaven only come in children's sizes! It isn't about us, if you're constantly asking for this or that, then throw that attitude away and adopt a more humble attitude. There are always more things to pray about than what we want/need - God knows our needs even before we ask. I remember what Robert Kennedy once said - Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country and that's a pretty good analogy. Jesus won't let go of our hand, it's us who let go of His and every time we sin we are letting go of His hand. If we don't recognise the seriousness of this it is usually followed by neglecting to pray, which is the first downward step.
There is no doubt that the Tribulation will be a time like no other and many will face unimaginable hardships not yet experienced or even thought of. These times will be of such a scale that faith will be severely tested and many who are not sufficiently spiritually prepared will fall. With Tribulation being such a short time away, the time to prepare is right now and I cannot emphasize that enough. Just reading about it is frightening enough, experiencing it when these days come - will be beyond words. Paul says in part in a verse in Romans 13: 12, The day is at hand and the night is well spent, that I like to think of the other way round: 'The day is far spent and the darkness is coming'. So do not put off what you can do today because you may not even be here tomorrow. An ounce of spiritual preparation will stand you in better stead than a ton of stored canned food. Just think about this - if you are marked for martyrdom, or death by whatever means, nothing is going to change that no matter how much stored food you have. Scripture does not tell us one way or another to prepare in a material way, as all material possessions may easily be taken from us and who knows what corrupt powers will be here then but being grounded in faith can never be taken from us - that is a certainty.
Something to remember and think about as Tribulation approaches and also as we go through it - Psalm 23 is a wonderful encouragement and needs to be imbedded in our hearts to help carry us through this time. Some of us are destined to go through it to the end, some will be martyred during and some will mercifully be taken home beforehand. It is all in God's hands but we should all keep our eyes focused on what is promised to those who love Him, no matter what our lot is.
Trusting in ourselves through a material way rather than trusting in Him is very dangerous - trusting in something after the event is easy - trusting in something of this nature before the event is not easy and that is what faith is. We can be sure that He has a plan for each and everyone of us and if we try to go contrary to His plan in any material way, it will only put us outside that plan.
What scripture does tell us however, God will provide in some unknown way as He has done before if we just wait on Him, and this is all about trusting in Him and having an unshakable faith that He will do what He says. (The Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years, yet He kept and provided for them.) Matthew tells us in 6: 25 - 34 that He will do just that, nothing more, nothing less and I particularly like verses 33 & 34, which says: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. I think it is clear from these verses that we must trust Him completely.
Those who have the gift of discernment and with the guidance of the Spirit will know what to do when it arrives. Even though the Spirit, who is now restraining evil will be taken out of the way opening the path for Tribulation, he will not leave us alone, he will still be in us to lead us, council us, strengthen us and even correct us. And we must never forget that, for without his help we will only have trouble if we don't obey his still small voice.
The events in Tribulation spoken about in Revelation are so very close now but only a small few are aware and most just don't know or worse, don't believe or even care. It is those in the first group we must try to help if they are willing to be helped. We should all keep a close watch on world events as the day draws closer and not neglect spiritual preparedness as I know we will recognise the anti-Christ rising just before Tribulation begins.
A little on preparedness of mind - In spiritual growth after salvation, which is a new beginning, it is imperative to spend as much time as you can learning God's word through reading about His dear Son. And you can never stop learning about Him. Think about this way - if you don't fill your mind with spiritual things, Satan will quickly take advantage of you and fill it with all kinds of worthless matter. Those who are just lukewarm are most at risk. If learning is neglected, the 'seed of faith' becomes malnourished and withers away and the little faith remaining will not withstand the scorching pressures of Tribulation. As a simple analogy, a seedling will quickly die without sufficient watering.
And this is what happened to the 5 foolish virgins.
Psalm 27: 4 is one of my favourites and is something to look forward to.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His Temple.
There is so much more at ichthys.com