January 4, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
We have entered not only a New Year, but a new decade. More than ever it seems people are wondering what the future holds. While we have many voices and a seemingly ever growing number of sources of information available to us; the Bible alone remains the only reliable resource for charting our course through the stormy seas of the years ahead.
While the Bible does not give us every detail or answer every question, we can look to the pages of the scriptures and see many future headlines, if you will, of what is ahead of us. We know, for example; at some point in the future the Lord will come in the clouds to catch away or rapture His Body, the Church. [See John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:13 – 18; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52]
Following the rapture there will be a time of Great Tribulation on the earth. A time so awful that Jesus said that there has been no time before, or any time after so terrible. In fact, the Bible says if those days were not shortened, no flesh would survive. [See Matt. 24:22] Out of the midst of all of the post-rapture chaos will emerge a man, a world leader if you will, who will seemingly have all of the right answers. I believe that he is alive today and waiting in the wings to step out onto the world stage. He will bring a false, temporary peace to the world; especially to the troubled, war-torn Middle East. He will somehow broker a successful peace deal between the Arabs and the Jews. This treaty will give the Jews the right to re-build their temple and to re-start Temple sacrifices.
After 3 ½ years the covenant will be broken, and Jews will be severely persecuted, along with the believers who have been born-again during the Tribulation. This world will seem to be running like a finely oiled machine, but it won’t take long before it begins to come apart at the seams.
4. A Series of Natural Disasters:
During the Great Tribulation disasters will occur on a scale worse than that found in any ecologist’s nightmare. Times of almost unbelievable difficulty are on the horizon. Jesus said that the end of the age will be a unique time of terror. Nothing in all of world history will compare to what is coming. It will totally eclipse all previous history in terms of hardship and trouble. Jesus said, For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. [Matt. 24:21 ESV] That is saying quite a bit when you think about it. There have been some pretty awful periods of history. There have been plagues that have wiped out millions, widespread famine, world wars, massive earthquakes, and the Holocaust.
During the Tribulation, the terror and destruction will be nationwide and worldwide in scope, and it will be worse than anything that has happened before. There will be disasters of unimaginable horror and magnitude. Someone might say, “Pastor Kevin you certainly are painting a bleak and horrible picture!” I would answer that my brush has not touched this canvas. I am merely reporting what the Bible says. God has told us that this time is coming on the earth, and you can be certain that it will. The stage is being set even now.
In the time of the Great Tribulation acts of man, resulting in thousands of martyrs, and acts of God will combine to cause great disturbances in the world and solar system. The Bible says that stars will fall and planets will run off course, causing chaotic changes in climate [See Rev. 16:8, 9, 13 – 14]. There will be unnatural heat and cold, flooding, and other disasters will wipe out much of the food production of the world [Rev. 6:6, 8]. Great famines will cause millions to perish [Matt. 24:7]. Strange new pandemics will sweep the world, killing millions [Rev. 6:6, 8]. As the period draws to a close, earthquakes will level the great cities of the world, and geographic upheavals will cause mountains and islands to disappear in the seas [Rev. 16:17 – 20].
In the course of just a few years, disaster after disaster will reduce the world population to just a fraction of its present billions. This time will come on the earth.
Revelation 6 – 19 is the main section of scripture that describes the Tribulation. These 14 chapters give an overview of the terrible judgments of the end times. These chapters tell us that God will pour out three sets of seven judgments upon the earth. There are seven seal judgments (Rev. 6), seven trumpet judgments (Rev. 8, 9), and seven bowl judgments (Rev. 16). These series of judgments will be poured out successively during the Tribulation.
I want to look at each of the judgments in some detail and lay out what the Bible says each will contain. We will do that next time.
The Weekly Word is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 – 5. Here the Bible says,
3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. [1 Thess. 5:3 – 5 ESV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson