Tribulation

Revelation: Chapter 6

Introduction

This chapter has to do with the opening of six of the seven seals. It is also the beginning of something known in the Bible as the “Day of the Lord.” This “Day” begins with the seven years of tribulation and ends with the Great White Throne of Judgment before which all the unsaved shall stand. See Rev. 20:11-15. This period of seven years is also called, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” Jacob’s name was changed to Israel in Gen. 32:28. So, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” is really “The Time of Israel’s Trouble.” The events of this period are recorded in chapters 6 through 19 of Revelation. These same events are also covered in Matthew 24:25.

Revelation: Chapter 11

Introduction

Chapter 11 is a most interesting chapter. A careful reader will find it as difficult as it is interesting. The questions are often asked: Will the temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem again? Will the Jews go back to their former worship? The first two verses of this chapter would answer a positive “yes” to these questions.

2 Thessalonians 2

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord extends from the Rapture until the purgation of the heavens and the earth by fire, preparatory to the new heavens and new earth. Momentous events will take place within this “Day:”

- A confederation of countries will form a Roman Empire (see Daniel 2 and Daniel 7). A political ruler will rise to rule this empire and he will make a covenant with Israel (see Daniel 9:27 and Revelation).

- A false religious system will be formulated under a false prophet (see Revelation 13:11-18).

- The pouring out of judgments will take place: the seal judgments (see Revelation 6), the trumpet judgments (see Revelation 8:11), and the bowl judgments (see Revelation 16).

- The overthrow of the professing Church will occur (see Revelation 17-18).

Revelation: Chapter 14

The Seal of the Father (Rev. 14:1-5) - The chapter opens with a scene in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus is standing in the city, surrounded by 144,000 who have the seal of the Father’s name on their foreheads (in contrast to the seal of the Antichrist). This is a look at the triumphant Christ at the beginning of His Millennial reign. These were sealed at the beginning of the Tribulation and, despite the fury of the devil, not one of them was lost. God’s omnipotent power or authority was behind the seal. Despite being hunted, imprisoned, hungry, naked, and thirsty, each one was preserved by God (Read John 10; it speaks of the believer’s security and him never perishing). The seal of the believer is the Holy Spirit. See Eph. 1:13-14 [Sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (the redemption of the body), the first resurrection]. See also Romans 8, “Nothing can separate us […]”.

 

The Everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14:6-8) - The message of the gospel never changes; it is everlasting. There is only one gospel (Galatians 1). Different aspects of it have been stressed at different periods; here, judgment is stressed. God has used different means to proclaim the gospel. During the Church Age, He uses men (2 Cor. 5:9). During the Tribulation, He will use the two witnesses. At this point, an angel is used. This angel preaches from the air, so everyone will hear it. Note that angels are indestructible, while thousands of preachers had lost their lives. [Stress the fundamentals of the Gospel as it applies to us today - 1 Cor. 15, death, burial, and resurrection; this is the Gospel the Lord has commanded His servants to preach in the entire world]

 

Revelation: Chapter 17

[Describe the destruction of the apostate church]

In this chapter we are introduced to one described as the “great harlot.” We are also confronted with a weird seven-headed, ten-horned beast. To get the meaning of the chapter, we must identify these two.

The Great Harlot - The “great harlot” is the apostate church – a wicked religious system. In Rev. 17:1, we see that this woman sits upon many waters. Rev. 17:15 clarifies that these “waters” refer to peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. John’s description of this woman makes her bath both fascinating and repugnant. The most disgusting and horrible thing about her is that she is drunk, not with alcohol, but with the blood of believers (Rev. 17:6).

The Beast - John describes the weird beast with seven heads and ten horns carrying this woman. What a diabolical combination! This beast is symbolic of the Roman Empire or the Common Market nations. Bringing this picture into focus, we see the conditions that will prevail during the first 3½ years of the Tribulation.

The Destruction of the Apostate Church - The Antichrist of Rome finds it expedient to go along with the apostate church. The fact that the woman rides the beast indicates that, for a time, the religious system influences the political system. In the middle of the Tribulation, the Roman Antichrist and the Jewish False Prophet find that they have no more use for the apostate church, so they destroy her. 

Revelation: Chapter 16

In Revelation 14, we saw God’s reluctant, but final decision to close the gates of heaven to any further entrants. In His great foreknowledge, God knows that every unbeliever alive on the earth at that time will have hardened his heart against the Gospel and will never come to Him. Therefore, He prepares to release the final judgments on the earth.

The Bowls of Wrath

Revelation 16:1 - This verse depicts a great voice booming out of the smoke-filled temple. This voice gave the seven angels orders to pour out the bowls of wrath that had been given to them.

Bowl No. 1

Revelation 16:2 - “There fell a foul and painful sore open on those who had received the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.” This sore will be worse than anything man has ever experienced. It will be so foul and painful that cancer and leprosy will be trivial by comparison. No known drug will cure these sores. Even the Antichrist with his supernatural abilities will not be able to cure these malignancies. On the other hand, God will supernaturally protect the believers from this horrible plague. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.” Compare this with the plague of boils in Exodus 9:8-11.

Bowl No. 2

Revelation 16:3 - “The sea became like the blood of a dead man.” In essence, the waters congeal like blood and every living creature that lived therein died. In Rev. 8, only a third of the sea became blood and only a third of the marine life died. In this judgment, all marine life is going to be wiped out. The whole earth will be affected. Sea transportation will be paralyzed. The former series of judgments (seals & trumpets) have increased gradually in measured progression. In the bowl judgments, all the stops are out.

Bowl No. 3

Revelation: Chapter 15

Seven Last Judgments (Revelation 15:1) - In this chapter we are introduced to the final judgments of the Tribulation. Chapters 15 and 16 record the consummation of events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as seen in Revelation 19. Rev. 15:1 introduces us to seven angels. Each one has the power to unleash a judgment upon mankind. These judgments are the most intense and devastating of all the judgments that precede them. The seal judgments showed man’s wrath against himself. The trumpet judgments showed Satan’s fury against mankind. The vial or bowl judgments reveal the wrath of God against rebels and enemies. God has been slow to anger, but at this point His long-suffering ends and His judgments fall on mankind.

John says in verse one, “for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” That is to say, in these judgments, the wrath of God is brought to a conclusion: It is finished. At this point, it is God’s wrath on those who have continued rejecting Christ that is to be finished. This is a sobering thought for anyone who continues to reject God’s offer of salvation. There will come a time when God’s patience and long-suffering will be exhausted and there will be no more opportunity to receive Christ as Savior; this happens to some in life, to others after death. The future for such persons is the lake of fire. See Rev. 20:11-15.

 

Revelation: Chapter 12

Introduction

This is one of the great prophetic chapters of the Bible. An understanding of its contents is essential to the correct interpretation of prophecy. Only a small part of the chapter fits into the sequence of events during the Tribulation. The chapter is really an inset providing the necessary information about the past, present, and future events concerning Christ, Israel and Satan. Chapter 12 reveals “the conflict of the ages.” This conflict involves Israel, Christ and Satan. There are four great passages brought to our attention in the chapter: (1) The Woman [Rev. 12:1-2], (2) The Great Red Dragon [Rev. 12:3-4], (3) The Man-Child [Rev. 12:5-6], and (4) Michael, the Archangel [Rev. 12:7-12]. It will be our purpose here to look at each of these more closely.

 

The Woman (Rev. 12:1-2)

There appeared a great “sign” in heaven. The appearance of this woman is a sign or symbol of an important truth. It is a miraculous signpost. Who is this woman? [Describe her at this point]

The Bible is its own best interpretation. In Genesis 37, at 17 years old, Joseph had a dream. He dreamt that the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His family understood the dream and resented it, for it referred to his father (Jacob), mother (Rachel), and eleven brothers bowing down to him. Joseph’s dreams came true. They bowed down before him three times with their faces to the ground. The woman John saw here in Rev. 12 is clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and crowned with a crown of twelve stars. This identifies her as the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob and Rachel.

Revelation: Chapter 8

 

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

Rev. 8:1 - “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” This is a startling statement. It was the awesomeness of the opening of the seventh seal that caused the hosts of heaven to pause in silence, for they had received a panoramic view. The judgment of the six seals in Rev. 6 was terrible in their content, but with the blowing of the trumpets, the judgment increases in intensity.

If I may direct your thoughts for a moment, to the judgment given through the pouring out of the seven bowls: there is a definite progression in the intensity of the judgments. This knowledge brings “silence in heaven for half an hour.” Rev. 5:4-5 shows us that Heaven is a happy place. The angels, the four living creatures, the 24 elders (whom many believe to be the church) - everyone in heaven, whom we have seen there, is rejoicing in jubilation, but now they are silent. It seems as if heaven gasps in horror at the prospect of such judgment about to fall on mankind.

After the judgment of the six seals, one would have thought that mankind would have repented. But, no, seal six repented not. Why don’t men and women repent today? How easy it is to do so (see John 5:24). “God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” “He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). 

Revelation: Chapter 7

The Redeemed of the Tribulation

Revelation 7 gives us a ray of light against the backdrop of gloom as the six seals have been opened. [Describe the grace of God in all the judgment - explain both the parable of the wicked husbandmen and the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Silver Coin, and the Lost Son in Luke 15]. Rev. 7 answers, once and forever, the question, “Will anyone be saved during the tribulation?” It is also a description of what has happened and a preview of what will happen.

The latter question is often asked in view of the fact that the Holy Spirit has been removed from the earth. Will anyone be saved during the Tribulation and Millennium? (Explain what some believe relative to salvation in the Tribulation). It is important that we understand in what sense the Holy Spirit will be removed. We must distinguish between His presence and His residence. Christ ascended 40 days after His resurrection. Ten days later the Holy Spirit descended to earth and took up His residence in the life of every believer. The Holy Spirit who had been with them would now be in them. See John 14:17.

When the rapture of the Church occurs, the residence of the Holy Spirit changes. He goes with them. But being God, and therefore omnipresent, He will continue to convict of sin and bring many to Christ during the Tribulation. [Discuss the Holy Spirit’s work]

The Choosing of the 144,000

How did these hear the gospel so they could be saved? It is likely that they heard the preaching of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Many others will be saved through the preaching of these two witnesses and also through the testimony of the 144,000.

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