Question: Will The World Get Much Worse?
Answer: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!
The Great Tribulation!
Reading Matthew Ch.24v1-31:
It soon becomes evident in a continued reading of the Bible there is yet to come upon this sinful world of ours an amazing day of indescribable, unprecedented holocaust. It is a day called the "tribulation period" or the "70th week of Daniel." Some believe the Church will pass through it. Some hold that the Church will go to the halfway point of it. Yet others believe that the Church will not so much as enter it. Those three groups are called respectively, Post-Tribulationists, Mid-Tribulationists, and Pre-Tribulationists.
Now without any doubt whatever, this is a very complex and profound subject. But if I may be permitted to do so, I want to take a course through it that is, I trust, simplicity itself. And I want to do that by asking and answering some very simple questions.
- What Is This Tribulation, Coming?
Well, the question makes clear, I hope, that this is something that will happen on earth. Listen to some of the titles give to this day which will, maybe, unlock for our understanding at least in some small way the reason for it.
Called "the great tribulation" in Matthew 24v21.
Called "the day of the Lord" Amos 5v16-20.
Called "the day of Jacob's trouble" Jer.30v1-17. (V7)
Called "thy wrath is come" 1 Thess. 2v16.
Called "the great day of His wrath" Rev. 6v17.
Called "the wrath of Almighty God" Rev. 19v15.
Called "the indignation" Isa. 34v2.
There are many reasons for such a happening, such a day to come upon this world, but two of them stand above and beyond all the others as we have been reading.
It is to be a day of great punishment upon the Gentile Nations. Rom 1v18.
For a large number of year's human kind has rebelled against the call of God to repent and believe on his name. It will be during this dreadful day, God will visit the nations alive and well on planet earth and bring a reaping of divine judgement to all the sowing of sinfulness in the past.
The second reason that stands out for such a day upon this great planet earth, it is to be a day of great purging upon God's people Israel. Ezek.20v37-38. Zech.13v8-9. Mal.3v3. The nation of Israel is guilty of rejecting the messiah and of having a part in His death. However, God is going to use this amazing tribulation time period to purge Israel and prepare them for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth so that when Jesus returns to this earth He will be met by a believing remnant of the Jewish people.
There we have two of the reasons for, What on earth is the Tribulation!
- How Will This Tribulation Commence? Matt. 24v1-14.
The passage before us is part of a sermon Jesus preached known as the Olivet Discourse. Jesus had told His disciples that the Temple would eventually be destroyed. And of course such a thought gripped their attention to the full, they wanted to know more about the end of time, v1-3. And even though these words were spoken to the disciples, they are a very potent prophetic message to the Nation of Israel. They are also a very powerful prophetic message to the Church from which we may, if we will, learn some very profound lessons.
A. This Tribulation Period Will Commence with Deception: v4-5 +11.
"Jesus answered and said unto them, take heed that no man deceive you"
That's the punch line. Always look for the key to open the remainder of the text! There will be a very great increase in the numbers who claim to be Christ's but they will prove false. "For many will come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." v5.
They have already appeared, men like Jim Jones, David Koreas, Sun Myung Moon who have claimed and are claiming to be the Messiah and they are just the tip of the iceberg. It will be during this period known as the tribulation two reprobates from Hell will appear on this earth and deceived the world into believing that they are gods and they will demand and receive worship from the population of this world. Rev.13v1-8.Read with me! Look also at Rev.6v2 & Daniel 8v25.
B. This Tribulation Period Will Commence with Devastation: v6-13.
This tribulation will be marked by total instability amongst society.
- Great Disruptions. v6-7. "Wars and rumour of wars"
Continual Hostilities between nations!
The time of peace introduced by the Antichrist will prove false! Rev.6v4.
There will be heightened persecution aimed at the Jews! v9 + Dan.7v25.
The world political situation will increase in instability!
Financial difficulties will drive one country after another to committee atrocities on their neighbours, which can only lead to war!
The Palestinians and the Arabs, make it clear even now, they would love to wipe Israel of the face of the earth! (And I have a feeling they might even try that very thing during the first part of the tribulation if not before. Ezek.38-39)
They will bring the Russians in on their side and attempt to destroy Israel but their plan will fail and Israel will use the weapons of that warfare to provide fuel for their people for the next seven years! Ezek.39v9.
What we are seeing today is but a forerunner of what is yet to come.
- Great Desperation. v7. "Famine"
These will be amazing days of famine which becomes even clearer if we read Rev. 6v5-6. The black horse speaks of death. The balances mean a rationing of food, which only happens when there is shortage. A penny was a day's wages and a Roman penny would buy 8 measures of wheat or 24 measures of barley. In other words, the food supply will be 1/8th of what it normally is. But notice, the rider is told not to hurt the oil and the wine, it would seem that luxury goods would be in plentifully supply. But then the common man could not afford that kind of eating and drinking; therefore he will starve.
Why, we are beginning to see this kind of thing happen already in our world. There is a prosperity abroad today the like of which we have never know before, yet our world is populated like it has never been before. That means that much of the land once used for growing food-stuff has now be turned into building ground and one of these days we are going to see shortage like we have never known before. Just think about that!
One person dies from starvation or one of its related diseases every second of every day! That means 86,400 die from starvation daily, 2,592,000 per month 31,104,000 every year. And listen to this, maybe the only joy we can find in all of this horror, 75% of those who die through starvation are infants or children under the age of five. That means 23 million precious, innocent, souls are ushered into the presence of God every year. They died an awful death but O my, what an eternity they will have. During the tribulation this kind of thing will grow worse and worse. I am glad we will not be around to see that!
(3) Great Disease. v7 "Pestilence"
The tribulation period will be a time when disease will increase, and it will be disease for which no cure can be found Rev. 6v8. This incredible look into the future reminds us that 25% of the world's population will die at one point in time. The population of this world at present; stands at some 6 billion plus with 78 million new births in the world every year. Just imagine the seen where 1.5 billion people die at the one time, what terrible disease would follow. Why? How on earth could we find burial sites for so many all at once, the crematoriums would not be able to cope. Gravediggers would be swamped! Death everywhere without burials would result in unspeakable disease.
- Great Disasters. v7 "Earthquakes"
In v7 Jesus mentions earthquakes as one of the great disasters that will happen in the early days of the tribulation. Is it not true that earthquakes greatly increased throughout the twentieth century even in places where we have never had such things before, simply setting before us a picture of what was yet to come.
(5) Great Disobedience. v10 + 12.
It would seem from reading these two verses betrayal and hatred will be the order of the day there will be a total disregard for the sanctity of life, property, or indeed even the rights of others. There will arise a deep seated desire for wickedness and sinning, and yes, sin will take you further than you want to go, sin will keep you longer than you want to stay, and most certainly sin will cost you more than you want to pay. Men and women will have no respect for each other, violent crime which is now on the upward trend, will increase to a degree we would not have thought possible. Man's inhumanity to man will hit an all time low. But then that is what our government and those in authority are leading us into even in today's world. We live in a world that allows thousands and thousand of unborn babies to be murdered every year. The whale is safer in the wild blue yonder than a baby in its mother's womb. What kind of message is that sending to our up and coming generation? Simple! Life is valueless. When we see countries passing laws allowing euthanasia and other forms of mercy killings we know that all respect for human kind is well gone. It would appear we are not to far from the days prevalent in Hitler's time, seeing the elderly, the mentally handicapped and others being put to death to prevent them being a drain on society's resources.
When this world accepts the foolish and bazaar notion that man evolved from some kind of lower life form, and when he dies, he is like a dog that merely goes to a grave, it soon becomes easy to take another life. If only men and women could see mankind for what they really are, unique creations, made in the very image of God, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever it would prevent much of the taking of the lives of others so cheaply. And folks, if it is like that now what will it be when the Church of Jesus Christ is removed from this world and the Spirit of God is no longer on planet earth to keep evil at bay.
This world will continue its slide into hell because of an increased lure of sin, there will be absolutely no restraints. Our world is going to hell in a handcart and all the while thinking all is well. They have some kind of form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. That simply means people claim some kind of religious activity in their lives but they refuse to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that they may be saved. Things are already happening at an extenuating pace. Read with me 2 Timothy 3v1-5 which proves my point fully I believe.
C. This Tribulation Period Will Commence with Declaration: v14.
I am glad to say, not all the events of the tribulation will be bad. God will raise up men who will continue to carry His wonderful message through the world.
To do that he will use a group known in the Bible as "The 144,000" Rev.7v1-8.
God has promised to raise up an army of Jewish preachers that he will keep His protecting hand upon and during this terrible time of tribulation he will send them across the world telling of the wonders of the Lord Jesus Christ. The world system how ever powerful it may be at that time, the devil nor his antichrist however powerful they may be at that time will not be able to stop this great band of people in their anointed task.
Another group, only two strong this time, called "The Two Witnesses" Rev.11v1-12. Will be a great power for God and His Christ. These two mystery preachers will stand at the Wailing Wall outside the newly constructed third temple and they will, with great power and authority preach the wonderful Word of God. All attempts to stop them will come to nothing until the Lord allows them to die at the hand of wicked men. Their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three days while the world rejoices in their death, such was their impact on people. They will then rise from the dead and ascend up into heaven. You see, even in the darkest hour this world has ever known God will display Himself by a declaration of preaching that Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who will come unto God by Him. By the way, millions will be saved during that amazing time! And before you think to your self, well I will get saved then if I miss it now, Oh no you will not, friend if you leave this age of grace without accepting Christ as your Saviour you are bound for judgement and hell, THERE IS NO SECOND CHANGE!
- How Will This Tribulation Continue? Matt. 24v15-29.
- Tribulation Will Continue With Days of Great Treachery: v15a.
This verse refers to the Antichrist breaking his covenant with the nation of Israel. That of course was one of Daniel's prophecy's many years ago Daniel 9v27 And must be fulfilled during the Tribulation period. The Antichrist will then establish himself in the Holy of Holies in the newly constructed Temple in Jerusalem. He will declare himself to be God and will make a demand of human kind that they bow down and worship him. Guess what? The Bible tells us, that is, exactly what will happen Rev.13v1-8.
What on earth is it that motivates the world to give this mad man their obedience and worship? Well this Antichrist will be assassinated Rev.13v3+14. And before a wondering and worshipping world he will appear to arise from the dead. When this happens, the world will fall at his feet in wonder, praise and glory. Interesting indeed, those who refuse to bow before a risen Saviour will gladly bow before a risen Devil. The reason? One promises them everlasting life. The other promises them prosperity! And amazingly, it's just about this very same time the Antichrist brings into being some kind of marketing system that people must be a part off before they can buy or sell.
- Tribulation Will Continue With Days of Great Terror: v16-29.
This part of the Scripture reading introduces us into the second half of the tribulation period. These will be days of such terror it will seem to us totally unbelievable that such things could and will happen. But be assured they will happen.
(1) Days of Terrible Persecution. v16-20.
Jesus reveals to the Jews that when they see the Antichrist claiming to be God, they are to flee. It seems that this will usher in a period of persecution against the nation of Israel like nothing the world has ever seen. In fact, it will be the desired end of this mad man from hell to totally destroy the people of God from off the earth, Rev. 12v1-17. The woman in this passage is Israel, and the dragon is the devil. He has tried for centuries to destroy the Jewish people and has failed miserable! This will be his last great endeavour to put down God's earthly people. Of course, the 144,000 Jewish preachers will be unable to die. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the rest of the human race that falls under the Antichrist's murderous gaze.
Jews will find themselves travelling one of three possible roads at this point. Many Israelites will die.Zech.13v8. Some will follow the Antichrist.Matt.24v10-12; Rev. 2v9; Rev. 3v9. A Remnant will be saved. Rev.12v14; Zech.13v9.)
(2) Days of Terrible Pain. v21.
In this one verse, the Lord Jesus capsules one of the most horrible times in human experience into one verse. I would like to spend some time looking at this period in a little detail. It seems that the tragedies I mentioned that would occur during the first portion of the Tribulation are going to intensify and be far worse during this period. A little glimpse of some of these things may be helpful to our understanding.
There will be two sets of intense judgements that will take place during the latter half of the Tribulation. These judgements are known respectively as Trumpet Judgements and Vial Judgements. Let's take a moment to look at these terrible events.
(a) The Trumpet Judgements:
The First Trumpet. Rev.8V7.
1/3 of the green vegetation on the face of the earth is destroyed.
1. The First Trumpet. Rev.8V7.
This will have an impact on oxygen levels around the world. In fact, Dr. Alan Carr says, "In the US, we have denuded our nation to the point that we only produce about 60% of the oxygen we consume!"(End Quote) We are moving to a similar state of affairs in the United Kingdom.
- The Second Trumpet. Rev. 8v8-9.
1/3 of the oceans become, blood and 1/3 of the life in the sea is destroyed. 1/3 of the world's shipping is also destroyed. Imagine the impact this will have on world food supplies. No doubt this will bring about even more death by starvation.
- The Third Trumpet. Rev. 8v10-11.
Perhaps this refers to a meteor that falls into the water supplies and pollutes 1/3 of the freshwater of the world. This poisons the water and many more people perish in this plague.
- The Fourth Trumpet. Rev. 8v12.
Some events take place in the heavens the sun's light is diminished by one-third. Also, one-third of the light of the other heavenly bodies is destroyed. Before the Fifth Trumpet sounds, an angel flies through Heaven and pronounces three woes upon the earth. The reason, Things are about to take a turn for the worse. Rev. 8v13.
5. The Fifth Trumpet. Rev. 9v1-12.
The earth; is invaded by an army of demons from the pit of Hell. The demons have the power to torment men for 5 months. They won't kill men, but the pain will be so intense that men will want to die, but they will be unable to achieve death! Hell will literally visit the earth!
6. The Sixth Trumpet. Rev. 9v13-21.
A demonic invasion of an army that numbers 200,000,000, the results of this invasion will be that 1/3 of the human population will be destroyed. Note: when this event is coupled with the 4th Seal, it means that over ½ the population of earth has been killed. But, what is the reaction of humanity? Rev. 9v20-21, they remain unrepentant!
Notice that before these 6 judgements are poured out on the earth, there is a time of silence in Heaven, Rev. 8v1. It appears that what is about to happen, is so severe that it calls for a time of silence and of mourning. All of God's judgement is performed out of holiness and not a desire to make men suffer! God does not like to destroy the wicked. But, His righteousness demands it!
7. The Seventh Trumpet. Rev. 11v15-19.
This trumpet announces the soon return of the Lord Jesus. It also introduces the seven Vial or Bowl Judgements.
(b. The Vial Judgements:
- The First Vial. Rev. 16v2.
Some kind of vile cancerous sore in poured out on mankind.
- The Second Vial. Rev. 16v3.
The waters of the sea are turned to blood and every creature in the sea dies.
- The Third Vial. Rev.16v4-7.
The fresh waters of the earth are turned to blood.
- The Fourth Vial. Rev.16v8-9.
The sun's heat is intensified, men's bodies are burned by the heat of the sun. Yet, with all these torments, they do not repent!
- The Fifth Vial. Rev.16v10.
This plague brings darkness and intense pain to the inhabitant of the earth. Again so intense that they gnaw their tongues in their pain, yet they still refuse to repent.
- The Sixth Vial. Rev.16v12-14.
The Euphrates River is dried up preparing a pathway for the nations of the earth to descend upon Israel for the final conflict.
7. The Seventh Vial. Rev.16v17-21.
This vial brings with it a terrible cataclysm in the earth. There is an earthquake of such magnitude that the islands of the sea sink and all the mountains of the earth fall down flat. On top of this, all the major cities of the earth will be destroyed! Then, hailstones fall from the heavens that weigh in at around 125 pounds each.
This is just a portion of the events that will take place during the Tribulation. It will be a time of unspeakable horrors and trials. However, no one in this room should ever have to worry about this. If you are not saved, I challenge you to come to Jesus and be born again!
(3) Days of Terrible Personalities. v23-28.
During the Tribulation, there will be many personalities involved in the devil's work. It will be a time of great deception. Surely, some will be looking for a means of escape. However, no false Christ can offer humanity the peace and salvation that comes only through the Lord Jesus Christ, John 14v6.
(4) Days Of Terrible Presentations. v29.
These events have already been touched on previously. However, suffice it to say that there will come a day when the moon will turn to blood, the sun will be darkened and the stars will fall from their sockets. There will be signs in Heaven surrounding the return of the Lord Jesus.
I remember that as a child I would hear adults speak of these things. I remember being terrified by them. I remember seeing that big, red, harvest; moon as it hung on top of the hills. I remember thinking that the end had arrived. I knew that I was lost, but I never tried to do anything about it. Then, when I got saved, I learned the truth. Now when I see that red moon, I rejoice! It just reminds me that Jesus is coming soon!
4. How Will This Tribulation Conclude! Matt.24v30-31.
They Are Temporary Days - The Bible tells us that, even in the midst of His wrath, God remembers mercy. Heb.3v2. He will accomplish His purposes, but He will preserve the remnant of them that love Him to the end. Even while He judges the world, He still deals with His people in love! These truths will be covered in greater detail in messages to follow, but for now, I will just say a word about each of these three things.)
A. The Triumphant Saviour's Appearing:v30a.
Verse 30 tells us that Jesus will return in great power and glory at the end of the Tribulation Period. When He returns, He will destroy the Antichrist and all his followers in one moment of time. Jesus will rule the world in an instant! You can read about them in Rev. 19v11-14.
B. The Terrified Sinner's Agonising: v30b.
When the world experiences the return of Christ in glory, they will react in terror. They have gathered their armies together at Jerusalem to fight what is known as the battle of Armageddon. It is at this battle that the blood will run "to the horses bridles", Rev. 14v20! However, the armies of the Antichrist and of all the other armies of the world will be destroyed with the Word of the Lord Jesus! These people had refused to bow before Him under grace, they refused to bow under judgement. Now it is too late for them to bow. The time has come for them to reap what they have sowed. They will be judged and they will be destroyed with the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rev. 19:15-21. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast alive in the Lake of Fire and all their followers will be obliterated in an instant of time! Jesus will return, not as a meek Lamb, but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!
C. The Tribulation Saints Assembling: v31.
After Jesus has returned and defeated the armies of His enemies, He will gather together those people who believed the preaching of the 2 witnesses and the 144,000 Jewish preachers. They will be gathered together and they will enter alive into the Millennium.
Now dear people please understand, we have just touched the surface of the events of that terrible seven-year period that is to come upon the earth. It will be a time more terrible than men can imagine. I just praise the Lord that the people of God do not have to fear these things. Now, the question that must be answered: Are you ready for the return of the Lord Jesus? Are you saved and sure that you will not be here for these terrible days? If not, you can be, all you need to do is to come to Jesus by faith and He will save you. If you are saved, praise the Lord! Now, go out and share Him with a world that needs to hear about Him and what He can do for their souls!
God's darkest threatening are always accompanied with a revelation of the way of escape. The ark is always along with the Flood. Zoar is pointed out when God foretells Sodom's ruin. The brazen serpent is ever reared where the venomous snakes bite and burn. Alexander Maclaren.