The Bible and the Future- Part 3
The Great Tribulation- Continued
The Body of Christ, the Church, is gone because of the rapture. They have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air. You can imagine the chaos that follows this event. Millions of people just disappear in the twinkling of an eye. But this is nothing compared to the chaos that will happen next. The Great Tribulation will be the absolute worst event the world has ever known. This future event was foretold by the Old Testament prophets, but especially Daniel 9:24-27. And it is the main subject of most of the book of Revelation. It can be found in Revelation 4-19. As I alluded to in my last post, the book of Daniel describes 70 prophetic weeks in which God deals with His people Israel. Sixty-nine weeks of years were accomplished by the time of Christ's triumphal entry. Then Christ was cut off in death, and after he was raised up was rejected by Israel. Now after this present unprophesied age is over, which was brought about by the temporary casting away of Israel, the stage is set for the seventieth week. God will again deal with the nation of Israel and fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs. And He will bring great judgement on the world because of sin.
I. A General Overview
There is a lot going on during this seven year period. We will just give a general overview. During this time a revived Roman empire will emerge. It will be a world empire energized by Satan himself. The head of this great empire will be a person called the Antichrist , or the Man of lawlessness. In Revelation 13:1 he is called the beast coming out of the sea.
Another major player in this drama is a person called the False Prophet. He is talked about in Revelation 13:11-18. Here he is called the beast coming up out of the earth. He is named as the False Prophet in Revelation 16:13, 19:20 and 20:10. The False Prophet promotes the Antichrist's power, and later convinces the world to worship him as god. While Antichrist will be chiefly a political and military leader, the False Prophet will be a religious leader. Church and State will unite in a worldwide religion to worship the Antichrist.
II. The First Half of the Tribulation
The Tribulation begins with the signing of a covenant between the Antichrist and Israel. It can be broken down into two 3 1/2 year periods. The Lord refers to the first half as the beginning of sorrows in Matthew 24:5-8. During this period there will be wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes in many places throughout the earth. During this time the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached all over the world. It will call for repentance, and for everyone to get ready for the return of Christ.
III. The Second Half of the Tribulation
The second 3 1/2 years will be a time of unprecedented great tribulation. Jesus said it would be the worst that the world has ever known. This period begins with the "abomination of desolation" referred to by Jesus (Matthew 24:15) and Daniel (9:27 and 12:11). The Antichrist will actually sit in the Jewish temple and claim to be god, and will perform miracles to try to prove it. Believing Israel is persecuted and flees Jerusalem. God keeps two witness to preach in Jerusalem for the 3 1/2 year period. They are later killed, then resurrected three days later and taken up to heaven (Revelation 12).
Numerous judgements befall mankind throughout this period. However, it will cause most to harden their hearts and curse God rather than turn to Him.
IV. Jesus' Return to Earth
At the end of the Great Tribulation, Jesus Christ Himself will return to join Israel. He will descend to the Mount of Olives, the same place in which He left the earth. (Zechariah 14:4 and Acts 1:11-12). The Lord will gather His people to Himself, while the Antichrist and the kings of the earth will gather to fight against Him. The Antichrist and his followers are defeated. Then the Antichrist and False Prophet are both thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:19-20). Satan and his demons, are cast into the bottomless pit. So, for a while, they are no longer able to influence men (Revelation 20:1-3). The next major event following all of this is the Millennium. We'll save that for the next installment.
My concern for anyone reading this is that you be prepared for the return of Christ. Believers in the Lord during this period in which we live will be spared all of the wrath poured out on the world during the Tribulation. Now is the time to escape the Great Tribulation and the judgement to follow. May you heed the warnings of Scripture and accept the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for your sins.