Posted in theology, tribulation

The Tribulation is about Israel

By Elizabeth Prata

The Time of Jacob’s Trouble as it is known (the Tribulation last 7 years) is about Israel. Israel is the hand on God’s prophetic clock. These things must come to pass as it is prophesied that Israel on that last day will stand alone with all her enemies around her.

A prophecy:

<i>The word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves</i>.” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

Why? So that they turn to their Messiah, the One whom they rejected but now call upon!

Although there have been seiges and wars around Jerusalem before this time, we also know that this particular event is still future. The verse says “on that Day”, which is always a reference tot he Day of Judgment.

<i>For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’&nbsp;</i>Romans 11:25-26).

That verse tells us that Jews in Israel will be accepting Jesus as Messiah during the Tribulation. He will remove the partial hardening so that they will see the truth and be able to call out to Him. At long last, they will ask for Jesus!

<i>And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son</i>. (Zechariah 12:10).

Though rejected by His own people for 2000 years, on that Day He will pour out grace. Not mete it out, not dribble it out, but POUR it out upon those who refused to know Him but now clamor for His grace.

deliverer from zion verse

Posted in eschatology, prophecy, rapture, second coming, tribulation

12 Things to Know about the Antichrist, or, Why Prophecy is Important

There are niche segments of study within the theological world that are more valued than others. Discernment gets a bad name, often rightly, because many discernment writers tend to drift toward a more “censorious spirit” as Gill said in his Exposition, stating, “Censorious persons rarely have the good will of their fellow creatures” in mind. However as the pendulum tends to swing, it makes a full arc and for a while discernment receives a poor reputation in total, even while there are good discernment writers and speakers out there (Justin Peters comes to mind) mixed in with the cranks and angry ones.

Though all Christians are called to discern between right and wrong, some have been given extra discernment as a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:10). While on the one hand it’s not to be abused, it’s also not to be dismissed. (FMI on the gift of discerning of spirits, go here).

Eschatology is another area of study which also receives a poor reputation, in no thanks to many Christians themselves. Eschatology is the study of last things, AKA, prophecy, especially the period since the First Coming of Jesus Christ. Though it’s forbidden, some date-set and of course the end date at which their predictions pass with no fulfillment make a mockery of Christ’s name to unbelievers and a disappointment to the believers who were drawn in. Others who study eschatology badly simply perpetuate ridiculous theories concerning the end times. Others wrongly insist that eschatological subjects are biblically unknowable.

My blog covers three areas; discernment, prophecy and encouragement. I’ve seen the pendulum swing from side to side in each of these areas over the last 7 years of daily blogging here at The End Time. I have maintained from the beginning of my blogging life and my Christian witness in real life, that prophecy is important – because it was important to Jesus. Last days are spoken of in almost every book of the New Testament. Paul spent a good deal of time teaching it to the Thessalonians. Even as the babes in Christ that they were, Paul pulled out all the stops to ensure that these Thessalonian Christian babies knew the importance of living with a very present knowledge of Christ’s imminent return. Doing so gives us a heart for the lost, a fervency in life, and a strength to look forward beyond persecution or trouble. I refuse to marginalize prophecy as a legitimate area of study.

Here is Michael Holst stating the point of eschatology so much better than I ever did.

12 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE ANTI-CHRIST
by Matthew Holst • April 01, 2016

One of the Apostle Paul’s great preoccupations in both of his letters to the church at Thessalonica is the second coming of Christ. He was not only concerned with getting the doctrine “right” but also with the great pastoral implications of such teaching. In 1 Thessalonians he writes concerning the second coming of Christ in relation to the resurrection of the dead and the gathering together of saints who are alive at that time. In 2 Thessalonians he reinforces what he had already taught at Thessalonica (2 Thess. 2:5) concerning the dangers of the last days, specifically with regard to the great apostasy in the church induced by the revelation of the Man of Lawlessness. 

Depending on your eschatological framework, your identification of the Man of Lawlessness and his activities may differ from what I wish to offer in this post. Coming to terms with the fact that there will indeed be a Man of Lawlessness plays an important role in the life of the believer as he or she eagerly waits for the day of Christ’s coming. In days of relative peace, we must ready ourselves and forthcoming generations–especially our own children–for the days of anarchic deception that will accompany the Man of Lawlessness. 

We, in the Calvinistic and Reformed church, have not done justice to the Scripture’s teaching on this matter. We often rightly respond to the “Left Behind” industry with dismay and sarcasm. In so doing, however, we have, perhaps inadvertently failed to sufficiently and soberly grasp Scripture’s teaching on this period of history which will be instrumental in bringing about a catastrophic and irreversible apostasy. Here then, are twelve biblical observations about the Man of Lawlessness (MoL) to help prepare us for that day.

For the rest of Mr Horst’s essay, go to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

I’d like to reiterate that the Rapture (when Christ calls for His Bride in the air, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) and the Second Coming (when His feet touch down at the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation, Mt 16:27, Zechariah 14:4) are two separate events.

Posted in barnhouse, prophecy, rapture, second coming, tribulation

Expecting God

Dr Donald Gray Barnhouse preached a great 22 minute message called “Expecting God”. In it, he ties together prophecy from Matthew and Malachi, regarding the Tribulation and the removal of the Church prior to that Great Day of the Lord. He teaches this so clearly and concisely but so insightfully that I wanted to share.

One thing Dr Barnhouse said was that the coming of Jesus we are eagerly expecting will be in several stages. This is a notion that even recently in one particular comment stream on this blog, people have a hard time understanding. It is an obstacle which often makes them want to deny the literality of the coming 1000-Year Kingdom, AKA the Millennium Kingdom.

Just as Jesus came the first time over 33 years, Barnhouse said, His second coming will be 7 years plus 1000 years. (Tribulation plus Millennium).

I can only link to the sermon, it is not on Youtube to embed. When you go to this link, the screen shot below is what you’ll see. Just click on “Expecting God” and enjoy!

Posted in prophecy, rapture, salvation, tribulation

Will any people be saved after the rapture, during the tribulation?

A friend on Facebook asked me a question. I like questions. They send me searching the Bible for a Spirit-led answer. I enjoy studying for a purpose. Here is the question:

How it can be that the bible states that most people will go to hell, yet in the tribulation, so many are saved they can’t be counted? Is the dynamic different in the Tribulation?

As for most people going to hell, yes that’s true. The Bible says that Jesus promised-

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

A specific answer as to how many will be saved during the wrath known as the Tribulation period can’t be given, because we cannot quantify “many” and “few”. We know for example, that many people died in the Flood (most actually). Few were on the narrow way, (only 8 people actually. Noah and his family). We know that most were sent to destruction when four of the five cities of the plain were destroyed. Admah, Zeboiim, Sodom and Gomorrah were thriving cities full of people, and most were sent to destruction when the angels came to destroy them with brimstone. (Genesis 19:13, 24-25; Deuteronomy 29:23). Only a few were saved (4 actually, and one of those turned out to be a false convert).

Over the course of world history we can’t know how many means few and how many means many. But we notice the fact that as soon as Jesus began teaching the hard truths, most left him. (John 6:60, 66). If we look at the scene in context as a microcosm of the world population, most people throughout history have either rejected Him outright or left the faith showing they never were of Him at all.

Therefore I believe the dynamic in the Tribulation is different. I base this on the verse in Matthew where Jesus said the Tribulation will be a unique time in world history. (Matthew 24:21,

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.

As for why so many would be saved, it is because the Tribulation is the fulfillment of the Bible’s promises. John MacArthur says in his sermon “Tribulation Saints part 1”,

“We have prayed that some day there would be a sweeping revival across the world that would bring millions of souls into the Kingdom. It has been the prayers of God’s people through the centuries that God would bring a great harvest of souls. And He will. One day it will come. It will be the greatest movement of God’s saving power in terms of sheer numbers that the world has ever known. Now that anticipation of that should not shock us because God longs to save…”

Revival is something we always pray for, but we don’t often realize that the revival that comes might look very different than the revival we envision in our head. Usually we envision a peaceful, joyful revival that sparks cultural change and personal peace. Yet the revival ahead in the Tribulation will be in a time of blood and war and grief and widespread martyrdom.

The reasons so many will be saved are found in Romans 11:26, that all Israel will be saved, and in Genesis 12, the fulfillment of Abraham’s covenant that all (pagan) nations through Abraham will be blessed.

If you’re interested, you can hear about salvation during the Tribulation explained more fully in John MacArthur’s sermon “Tribulation Saints” parts 1 and 2, expositing these verses from Revelation 7 under discussion.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)

Praise the Lord who saves!!

Posted in comfort, encouragement, paris, tribulation

Paris attacks, more links and more encouragement

I’ll be passing along links and verses and essays during the day on The End Time Facebook page that in my opinion help us work thought last night’s Paris horror, to dampen fear of the same occurring in the US and pointing to Christ.

Here is last night’s essay, I pray it encourages you.

Everything is ALL about man’s relationship to God. He gives peace (reconciliation) that passes all understanding. Those without His peace perform war and horror and carnage. It is nothing new. It only upsets us because it is fresh.

Yet in Christ there are three words:

Reconciliation:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. … ll this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:5, 11, 18-19).

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Joy

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 2:12)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants

As Challies said, “as we were transfixed by the horror of the Paris terror attacks last night, what is there to do but mourn the depravity of man. Denny Burk asks us to consider praying Psalm 10.”

Arise Lord! Break the arm of the wicked man!

Posted in encouragement, john macarthur, judgment, prophecy, rapture, relief, tribulation

Beleaguered brethren, relief is on the way

What a blessed relief the rapture is to look forward to!!!

In his tremendous sermon delivered last Sunday, July 19, Pastor John MacArthur demonstrated once again the qualities of a superlative shepherd.

After Memorial Day he planned to go on vacation as usual. He delivered a sermon to help his flock prepare for events that may occur while he was gone. He said in his good-bye for now sermon,  “Hope for a Doomed Nation” that

So as we look at our nation – and I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few weeks when I’m not here. I’m just kind of preempting that a little bit by helping you to be able to think through whatever happens. I have to say at this point that there are many churches who aren’t helping.

One event was obviously what turned out to be the devastating Supreme Court decision to legalize homosexual marriage in all 50 states as the law of the land. We knew that the Supreme Court decision was coming out in early June, and we knew the decision would not likely swing to the moral side of the compass. So the Pastor was preparing his flock to receive bad news and retain their spiritual equilibrium (and ours too, if we listen to GTY). However, in addition to the SCOTUS decision, we also endured the Charleston church shooting, Chattanooga military base terrorist shooting, Louisiana movie theater shooting, and the Planned Parenthood videos. A lot happened while their senior pastor was away.

So much so, that the rapidity of our moral collapse as a nation is dizzying. The collapse is coming from many different directions. That’s partly why it’s dizzying, our heads are swinging from this side to that to detect all the incoming. So though Pastor MacArthur’s vacation was going to be the usual length, most of the summer, MacArthur had an opportunity to return and preach for one Sunday, July 19 before resuming this week. In the face of moral collapse, heightened danger physically and spiritually for every Christian in this country, and grief over the heinousness of the Planned Parenthood videos, how can a pastor best help his flock at such a time as this?

He opened that sermon, We Will Not Bow by saying,

A lot is happening at a very rapid rate. And with all the discussion that’s been going on, I’ve been kind of eager to get to you, and maybe help to give you a perspective.

His phrase, ‘get to you’, was filled with urgency and the word ‘to’ was emphasized. You’ll hear it if you listen. It reminded me of a mama on a playground suddenly hearing her child cry because he fell down, and her instinct is to rush over and scoop him up and protect. That was the attitude in his statement, a shepherd rushing over to protect the sheep, to calm them and give them food. This in itself is encouraging.

The sermon was encouraging as much as it was informative. Toward the conclusion of it, MacArthur focused on the relief that is in store.

No matter what is occurring in the world or the United States ultimately there will be an end. The end for believers will be blessed relief from the corruptions of our flesh, the battles against the temptations of the world, and the deliverance from the presence of satan and sin. It will all end and for us, the end will be a holy blessed relief. It all can be summed up in one word: Jesus. He gives the relief and His work on the cross actuated it.

Part of that relief will be the righteous satisfaction in seeing evildoers punished. The end for those who do not love Jesus is eternal conscious torment after having been judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. I know this isn’t a palatable statement for many to read, but once we are glorified at the rapture and the end of all things plays out, we will be part of Jesus in every way. He longs for making all things right and we will too. Sinners’ sins are so terrible against our Jesus that we will want to see Him enthroned, claiming His position as dispenser of justice.

MacArthur said

But that same event brings us relief, relief. Verse 6, “It is only just for God to repay with affliction.” And implied, it is only just for God to give relief. He will give relief to His own. Affliction will end. Persecution will end. Suffering will end. That’s His promise. And it will end for those that belong to Him—those who have been afflicted by a God-rejecting, Christ-rejecting world.

And what does that relief look like? Verse 10, we’ll be glorified with Him on that day, “to be marveled at among all who have believed.” I love to think of that. We’re going to look at each other and say, “Whoa, did you turn out amazing! I never could have imagined.” I’ve told you before, I know there are many of you, that when we get to heaven, I won’t recognize. Perfection with obliterate any memory of what you used to be.

We’re just passing through, aren’t we? We’re just passing through. (John MacArthur “We Will Not Bow“)

I began this essay saying what a good shepherd John MacArthur is. I have several friends who had opportunity to hear the sermon live last Sunday. They both tweeted how blessed they were to hear it and be comforted along with many other solid believers. I write this essay because not everyone has such a blessing.

As the moral slide gains steam and hurtles down that downgrade, many discerning believers are left adrift inside their local congregations with unworthy shepherds. Some pastors are just plain unskilled at being able to comfort through scriptures. These pastors preach topically, usually three points of self-help sermons such as “Three Ways to Get Your Kids to Listen to You” or “Six Ways to Change Your Life”. Self-help is no help at all when trials come.

Other pastors are ignorant of eschatology or are unwilling to give it credence. Thus they avoid scriptures that refer to the end of all things such as the Matthew 24 or 1 Thessalonians verses, which actually are designed to comfort. (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Other pastors are not saved and are actually agents of satan. We don’t like to believe this, but it is true far more often than most people realize. S. Lewis Johnson preached,

And so it was inevitable, Paul says, that factions would exist in the church. For there must also be factions among you that those are approved may be recognized among you. In fact, the factions and the process of being approved by the way in which we respond to the problems of the local church is really an anticipation of a separation that is to occur at the judgment seat — well, at the Great White Throne judgment.

There are people who are in ostensible fellowship with local churches that are not going to be in heaven. We know that. The Bible details that, too. Satan is very active in the Christian church seeking to overthrow the ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And so, consequently, he infiltrates the Christian churches. And if it’s a Christian church that is a fruitful church there will be some there that are not emissaries of our Lord but are really emissaries of Satan. Paul talks about that in 2 Corinthians chapter 11.

And he says “not only are they sitting in the pew, they’re standing by the pulpit.” As a matter of fact, the ones standing behind the pulpit are more dangerous and more likely to upset the Church of God. And so Satan is very anxious to have one standing behind a pulpit, or standing behind this pulpit, too, for that matter. 

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

So for those who do not have the blessing of a faithful pastor, and/or are attending a church filled with false doctrine but don’t know where else to go, or are dealing with factions and disgruntled members, or who simply feel alone even in the middle of a local congregation, take heart.

We are sojourners on this hostile planet. But that will end. Relief is on the way. Praise Jesus.

Posted in creator of the universe, millennial kingdom, prophecy, sun, tribulation

Prophecy: A sun that will be seven times hotter but will not burn

In the Tribulation, agriculture will wither under a scorching sun.

Dorothea Lange, Abandoned farm north of Dalhart, TX. 1938.

At the end of the end days, during the Tribulation where all men living on the earth will be judged in wrath, there will be three sets of successively worsening judgments (or four sets, if the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10:1-4 are judgments).

There will first be the 7 Seal Judgments of Revelation 6, they open the Tribulation. Then the wrath of God is demonstrated through 7 Trumpet Judgments of Revelation 8-9. These are terrible judgments, but by God’s grace, some repent through them. After that there are the 7 Bowl Judgments. Revelation 15 opens with the 7 Bowl Judgments.

Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. (Revelation 15:1).

These are the most terrible of all. They are so bad that no one is even allowed in the heavenly throne room sanctuary until they are concluded.

And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, 8and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. (Revelation 16:7-8)

One of the Bowl judgments God pours on the people of the earth the plague of a hot sun. By this point in the Tribulation, no one is repenting. They know that God is sending His wrath onto the world, but they shake their fist at Him and refuse to repent. By this time, battle lines have been set in eternal stone. In Revelation 13 people either took the mark of the beast and thereby signaling their worship of satan, sealing their doom, (Revelation 14:9-10), or they refused the mark, thereby signaling their worship of the Lamb who lives forever, sealing most to their martyrdom.

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9).

God makes the sun hotter, so hot that men will be on fire if they are exposed to it. God is powerful and controls the sun!

Let us look to a happier time, the Millennial Kingdom. God’s Prophets had much to say about this period in earth’s history, also. The Kingdom will be set up on earth after the Tribulation is over, and the Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints have been resurrected. Those who refused the mark of the beast and lived will populate this kingdom, too. Because they are mortal, they’ll re-populate the earth. It is at this time the resurrected Old Testament saints whom Jesus promised land and an earthly kingdom with Him (the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Messiah) on the throne, will have all their promises fulfilled. This is Israel’s gift.

In Isaiah 30:23-25 we read that during this time of the Millennium Kingdom,

And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, 24and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

John MacArthur says of this time:

In the Messianic Kingdom of that future day, agriculture, cattle raising, food production, and water resources will prosper. The prophet predicted the redemption of nature. (cf. Rom 8:19-21)

In Isaiah 30:26 we read of further blessings:

Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

The light of the sun will be seven times hotter?

MacArthur again:

The benefits from the natural bodies of light will be much greater. Increase of the intensity of their light will work to people’s advantage, not to their detriment as in Revelation 16:8-9.

In the Millennial Kingdom, a gentle, bright sun seven times
warmer will flourish the earth’s crops

When we read that God is sovereign overall creation, He is sovereign. He created the sun. As the Potter, He can make it do what He wills. During the Tribulation, it will be a mechanism for judgment, scorching men, who curse it. In the Millennium, the sun will be a mechanism for prosperity, and men will bless their Creator for giving them plenteous sunshine, healthful, glowing, and beautiful.

We groan, and cannot wait for redemption of our mortal bodies into glorified vessels worthy of seeing our Holy God. The creation groans too. When the creation is redeemed, it will rejoice also.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21).

This is how the creation will be set free. The sun will shine upon peaceable kingdom, over a flourishing agriculture, making men and crops thrive. Our Creator is majestic in power and sovereign over creation. He is to be worshiped, loved, praised. Our Jesus who was with God at the creation and who sustains all creation and without whom nothing was made that was made, is our hope. He is the hope of all creation. Our eternal Hope, who reigns forever.

—————————————-
Further Reading

The Glorious Return of Jesus Christ, part 1

Devotion: Three reassuring Signs 

Posted in blood, death, prophecy, salvation, tribulation, wrath

How many will die in the Tribulation?

If you watched Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie then you’ll remember the scenes of the plague where the corpse gatherer shouts “Bring out your dead!” (I watched Monty Python in the 70s way before I was saved, don’t judge me).

The London plague of 1665 is synopsized in the UK National Archives this way:

This was the worst outbreak of plague in England since the black death of 1348. London lost roughly 15% of its population. While 68,596 deaths were recorded in the city, the true number was probably over 100,000. Other parts of the country also suffered.

The earliest cases of disease occurred in the spring of 1665 in a parish outside the city walls called St Giles-in-the-Fields. The death rate began to rise during the hot summer months and peaked in September when 7,165 Londoners died in one week.

This artwork depicts the general attitude during the height of the plague.

The plague was nothing, nothing, compared to the upcoming Tribulation. Let’s look at what God promises for unbelievers left behind

Current world population (estimate) – 7,321,593,981. That’s 7 billion with a b.

Revelation 6:7-8 says,
When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

So in rapid order, 25% of the earth’s people will die. A quarter of 7.3 billion people is 1,830,398,495 dead. That’s 1.8 Billion dead. Remember the 2004 Banda Aceh Christmas day tsunami that killed 250,000 people? Bodies washing up everywhere? Multiply that by tens of thousands and millions and you have some idea of the deaths that will take place when the fourth seal is opened. It will happen fast, too. The entire Tribulation will only be as long as 7 years, and the Seal judgments are opened at the outset, so pretty quickly bodies will pile up in the streets.

So after a fourth of the population dies, we have 5,491,195,486 remaining on earth. That’s 5.4 Billion people.

Revelation 9:18 says that another third will die quickly also, this time in the Trumpet Judgment. “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths.”

This means that a third of 5.4 billion people will die. That’s another 1,812,094,510 billion dead. Billion with a B.

By now there are 3,679,100,976 people left. Of course there area great many fewer because countless numbers die in the wars, die or are killed due to violence because of no restraint on sin, and secondary causes like fires from unattended gas lines or cholera or starvation. So let’s estimate another billion have died from all those causes. That leaves 2.6 billion people and that is only halfway through the Tribulation. We have gone from 7.3 billion people down to 2 billion- or less.

I suspect the death from sin will be much higher than we even can comprehend. The Holy Spirit will not be restraining sin at all. All men will be able to be as bad as they can be, moral depravity will be at highest levels ever. People will kill with impunity, for no reason, just to see you die. They will die from drugs and alcohol other bodily excesses, illness, starvation, and likely suicides. We know that the world will be used to looking at death with no problem, because by the time the Two Witnesses are killed their bodies are allowed to putrefy in the street for three and a half days while the entire world looks at them and dances in joy over their death. (Revelation 11:9-10)

3,642,493,005 or half the current population will for a fact die. All those bodies laying around is unimaginable. Here is one graphic that shows 1 Billion pennies. This is only 1 billion, remember, and they are pennies, very small, not human bodies.

Source

Jesus said that if he did not come back, ALL FLESH would die. (Matthew 24:22). When you try to imagine the numbers of corpses it become a horror, unimaginable and hopeless. Burials will not keep up. Every zombie/apocalypse/plague/outbreak/dystopian movie you ever watched won’t even come close. The Left Behind movies were sanitized like meat under cellophane compared to the slaughterhouse the meat came from. The overriding feature of the Tribulation will be…blood.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia. (Revelation 14:20)

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10)

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (Revelation 16:3)

And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly. (Revelation 17:6)

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. (Revelation 20:4)

People say that the Bible is a tale of two cities, Jerusalem and Babylon. We could say without stretching it that the Age of Grace is about the blood of Jesus- Holy blood. And the Tribulation is about the blood of sinners- Judgment blood.

So when I hear someone say “I’m a pantheist, it’ll all pan out in the end,” I know that person has no conception of the prophetic plan of God. They have no care for the billions of people who will die like animals under God’s judgment. The deaths, the stench of death, the desensitization regarding death, it all will be on a scale the mind will not be able to comprehend.

Yet each one of those deaths represent a soul, made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)

Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
that he should live on forever
and never see the pit. (Psalm 49:7-9)

No person, regardless of his means, is able to escape death; it is inevitable. (Hebrews 9:27) This passage anticipates the second death of hell, (cf. Rev. 20-11:15), except those who by faith have repented of their sin and embraced the only adequate ransom, the one paid by the Lord Jesus Christ by His death on the cross. (cf. Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 1:18-19). ~John MacArthur

Knowing we live in the Age of Grace and were saved in it should give us knee-weakening, heart stopping gratitude to Jesus. And knowing what is ahead for the world and its people should give us knee-weakening, heart stopping fear of God and His mighty power and Holy wrath. He is coming soon.

Be ready.
Live like you’re ready.
Witness like it’s your last day on earth, because it’s could be- for you or for that person.

Posted in bible, encouragement, judgment, prophecy, tribulation

End time encouragement from a long-past prophet: Habakkuk

My friend, Pastor Phil Andrukaitis of the First Baptist Church of South Portland Maine, preached on Habakkuk 3 recently. I am on the email list for the sermon notes, and I was struck by how encouraging the notes were. Because:

  • it is always good to be energized by the profound truths of God’s word
  • it is always wonderful to remember that prophecy points to the sovereignty of God
  • it is comforting to see there are faithful pastors laboring in all parts of this country and the world, serving and ministering to our Lord

I asked Pastor Phil to reprint the notes. They include a thoughtful and discerning introduction. Please be encouraged with either or both, the introduction or the sermon notes themselves. I added the photos and artwork. They are not original to the sermon.

Please continue to pray for pastors all over the world who preach the Gospel faithfully and discerningly. There are 4,500 pastors meeting in Sun Valley CA right now at the annual Grace Community Church/Masters College Shepherds’ Conference. There are thousands of other pastors right now working out sermon notes, praying in tears for their sheep, visiting the sick, building a new church, or doing any of the myriad and seemingly impossible things God calls His under-shepherds to do.

Pastor Phil Andrukaitis

It is only by the Holy Spirit that these men are able to lift themselves up each day under the workload, to have the word of God illuminated to them, to have kindness and comfort to offer the grieving or sin-stricken, to have strength to have the difficult conservations and uncomfortable confrontations.

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Good pastors are a gift from God.

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15)

The introduction and sermon are long. Print it out, mull it over, return to it when you have time. These are God’s words, delivered through a pastor’s heart, and offered in love and truth to comfort you.

SERMON INTRODUCTION

Phil Andrukaitis
Good afternoon my family and friends,

As a pastor, I have a divine responsibility to shepherd my flock [and to encourage other Christians] by strengthening their faith with the Bible and by preparing them for future trials and tribulations, which lie ahead for all of us. Knowing my own weaknesses and failings, I still press on to model my faith with my life, as this is part of the process of making disciples.

Question: My family and friends, are we ready to experience the difficult times that are coming to our country? As I read the Book of Habakkuk, this prophet of God was told what was in store for his nation. This news was so disturbing for Habakkuk, it caused him to tremble. I believe God is allowing discerning Christians, along with many American citizens, to see ominous signs for our nation. And some folks are trembling.

The concept of the Rapture is embraced as an escape plan among many Christians. While I believe Scripture promises the church to escape the “Great Tribulation,” the church may very well experience smaller tribulations [e.g., the collapse of our economic system, martial law, restricted freedoms, fear in the streets, etc.] before the actual rapture of the church.

My brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of the Lord not to dismiss current events or to become discouraged by them. Rather, we are to embrace God and His Word, as did Habakkuk. Therefore, let each Christian embrace his God-given assignment and enable the church to fulfill the Great Commission, making disciples of Jesus Christ.

I pray that Habakkuk’s message will strengthen your faith and prepare you to stand firm on the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Phil

SERMON TRANSCRIPT

This morning, I begin this sermon not with a story to illustrate the passage; rather, with the text itself. It is one of the most magnificent pieces of Hebrew poetry [comparable to Psalm 23]; the closing verses in the Book of Habakkuk (3:17-19 – NASB):

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines; though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food; though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls; yet, I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.

Gustav Dore: Habakkuk crying out in prayer

Did you hear Habakkuk’s words with your soul? But wait: Unless we understand these words in the context of the chapter, in the context of the book, and in the context of its setting, Habakkuk’s words of praise would be wrongly interpreted and misapplied to our lives. Therefore, let us begin with the fact that Habakkuk is a devout servant of God who…

  • grieved over his nation’s wickedness,
  • wrestled with theological perplexities,
  • and shook with fear when God told him what was coming to the nation.

God was bringing judgment to His people. Yet, Habakkuk declared his faith and expressed praise to the Lord GOD, in spite of the news he learned (Habakkuk 3). How is that possible?

So as not to get ahead of myself, permit me to ask you two questions: First, what was the most gut-wrenching, painful experience you have ever had? Second, how long did it last and what were the consequences? Perhaps some of you have experienced one or more of the following:

• The death of a parent, spouse, child, or friend
• An act of violence committed against you [rape, beaten, robbed, etc.]
• News that your health is failing – you have only three months to live
• The rejection of your spouse [divorce]; the betrayal of a friend; the discipline of a church
• The consequences of a sinful decision that brought overwhelming guilt and shame

Okay, now that you are in the moment for just a moment, what were your thoughts towards God when you were in that time of trouble? Were you praying? Were you crying? Were you afraid? Were you angry? Did you doubt God’s love? Were you filled with despair? How did you get through this painful experience?

Transitional Sentences

Having jolted your memory, you are now ready to connect with the prophet’s words and emotions; but just for a little bit. I do not want to offend anyone by minimizing your gut-wrenching painful experience, but when God told Habakkuk what was coming to the nation, within the prophet’s lifetime, Habakkuk wrote,

I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound, my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us (Habakkuk 3:16 – NASB).

Yet, immediately following these words,

• Habakkuk did not stare at the horrific news he just received.
• Habakkuk did not become paralyzed in his walk with God.
• Habakkuk did not run away from God; rather,
• Habakkuk grounded himself in what he knew to be true about God and praised the Lord.

Historical Setting

Okay, before we proceed further, you might be asking, who is Habakkuk? There is nothing known about the prophet’s personal life. While students of Scripture have speculated that Habakkuk was of a priestly family, the Scripture is silent on this issue.

Habakkuk’s name means, “to embrace.” Based on the prophet’s words, it appears that Habakkuk embraced God [God’s glory, will, purity, heart, people, and suffering]. While all the other prophets spoke for God to the people, Habakkuk speaks openly to God about people.

Habakkuk wrote this book approximately 2 years before the first of three deportations to Babylon [B.C. 605, 597, 586]; 20 years before king Nebuchadnezzar eventually destroyed Jerusalem with a great slaughter. Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah. Moreover, there is a sense in the text that Habakkuk is also living in Jerusalem.

• We know that Jeremiah lived through the two-year siege of Jerusalem. Jeremiah describes God’s wrath against Jerusalem (Lamentations 2), whereby the Babylonian military forces first starved the people into submission and then broke through Jerusalem’s wall, slaughtering, plundering, and destroying the people and the city.

• However, as for Habakkuk, we do not know if he perished in the two-year siege or died by the sword when the Babylonian forces ransacked the city. However, when the prophet heard the news from God, what was to come, it is no wonder the prophet shook with fear.

I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound, my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us (Habakkuk 3:16 – NASB).

In order to understand more fully Habakkuk’s prayer of praise in Chapter 3, let us review quickly a summary of the Chapters 1 and 2.

Summary Points in Chapter 1

Habakkuk’s 1st Complaint (1:2-4)

• God, why do You seem so indifferent to my prayers?
• God, why did You allow Israel to go so far with their sins?
• God, why do You not bring justice to the land?

Evidently, the time for divine judgment was now. From the Book of 2nd Chronicles, the godly reforms King Josiah instituted were reversed by his wicked sons, especially by king Jehoiakim. Consequently, Israel was rife with the following sins:

The people were idolatrous, especially as they sacrificed children upon the altars of demons, for financial and agricultural prosperity.

  • Corruption in the highest political and religious offices were the norm [Observation: perhaps that is why the nobility were first to be carried off in the first of three deportations to Babylon].
  • Jerusalem’s officials abused their authority and power, bringing injustice to the widows and the poor.
  • Bloodshed and crime were rampant throughout the land.
  • The Word of God was rejected; so were the prophets, as they were persecuted.
  • Consequently, the people of the land refused to repent of their sins.

God’s Reply to Habakkuk’s 1st Complaint (1:5-11)

God said, I am bringing the Chaldeans [Babylonians] to judge My people [Israel].

Habakkuk’s 2nd Complaint (1:12-2:1)

• But God, the sinfulness of the Chaldeans is worse than the sinfulness of the Jews!
• God, how can You endorse evil people to do Your divine work?
• God, You are too holy to look upon sin.
• God, the cruelty of the Chaldeans is known worldwide! They will destroy us!

To feel the horror that filled Habakkuk’s soul, imagine ISIS forces overwhelming this nation, as they are overwhelming the nations of Iraq and Syria.

Summary Points in Chapter 2

God’s Reply to Habakkuk’s 2nd Complaint (2:2-20)

• God declares: The just shall live by faith [present the gospel]
• God declares: I will judge the Chaldeans for their sins [5 woes]

–greed and aggression (5-8)
–exploitation and extortion (9-11)
–violence (12-14)
–immorality (15-17)
–idolatry (18-20)

Summary Points in Chapter 3

Even though Habakkuk did not understand everything about God and the course of action He was taking against Israel, the prophet offers a powerful prayer of praise.

First, Habakkuk makes a request of God (2).

–Revive Your work.
–Make Your work known.
–Be merciful when You express Your wrath.

Observations about Habakkuk’s request

1. Habakkuk knows what is coming and expressed his fear, along with his faith in God.

2. Understanding that God is holy, Habakkuk knew that God must judge sin. Habakkuk does not ask for personal deliverance, ease of suffering, defeat over the Chaldeans, or for Israel’s deliverance.

3. Rather, Habakkuk asked for God’s will to be done. Hmmm, this is reminiscent of the Lord’s Prayer. Consider the following questions: Are we more concerned about…

…our personal welfare or God’s will in our lives?
…which political party will win next year’s election or purity of the church?
…becoming more like Christ or securing material possessions?
…our comforts in this life or the kingdom of God?

Do you seek the shadow of the Jesus’ cross looming over this passage? Habakkuk asks, “in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk knew that God could no longer tolerate Israel’s sin. God’s righteous character demands that He judge sin.

God is still the same God today. He does not change. He cannot look upon our sin without judging us. That is why God sacrificed His Son on the cross for our sins. When Jesus hung on the cross, He alone bore the wrath of God so that you and me could escape God’s wrath. Indeed, God did remember His mercy while pouring out His wrath on His Son. We do not deserve to be saved. God held back the judgment we deserve [mercy] and gave to every sinner who has believes, eternal life [grace].

Listen, my friends, there is no sin in your life beyond the cross. Even though no one else knows about your sin, God knows. Come to Him in faith, believing that the blood of Jesus cleanses you from all your unrighteousness.

And to my brothers and sisters in Christ, God continues to bestow mercy and grace on our lives. Forsake the sin that so easily cripples your walk with God by calling out to Him to revive your heart for Him.

Second, Habakkuk remembers the deeds of God (3:3-15).

God displayed His majesty to the world.
God displayed His power over the nations [the Exodus and the plagues].
God displayed His presence among His people [Mount Sinai].
God displayed His glory, causing the nations to fear Him [Joshua 10].

What was God’s purpose in all of His deeds? The answer is clear: To demonstrate to His salvation for a people He loved.

Applications from Habakkuk’s remembrance

1. Read Scripture and understand how God has demonstrated His faithfulness in the past. A good place to begin would be at the cross. Think through how God took steps to bring Jesus into this sin-cursed world. In your mind, imagine yourself among the fickle crowds that called for the death of Jesus. See with your mind’s eye how Jesus carried His cross for you; the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross. Listen to His last words from the cross. These actions on our part have a way of strengthening our faith and making more intimate our personal relationship with Jesus.

2. Think back how God has delivered you in the distant and recent past. Be sure to tell others about His faithfulness.

3. Parents and grandparents, how are we demonstrating our faith and what values are we setting before our children? It is true that many young people are leaving the church. Might the problem lie in our homes and the manner in which we live out our faith?

Third, Habakkuk confesses his fear because he knows what lies ahead of him (16).

Habakkuk knew what was coming. If the Spirit of God told us of our future, I do not think we would be able to handle it, as God permits a measure of intense suffering for many of us. Read Peter’s first letter as suffering is a major theme he addresses (1st Peter 2:20-25; 3:13-17; 4:12-19).

Is it any wonder then, that we often times design our lives to avoid future suffering? God’s Word says, “Many are the plans in the heart of man, but the answer comes from the Lord.” God desires that we learn to walk by faith and not by sight or to solely lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). Therefore, as Habakkuk’s heart melted in fear, his faith did not paralyze his walk with God.

Applications from Habakkuk’s confession

I do not read tea-leaves. I do not listen to Glenn Beck. I am not a pessimist. However, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to see that difficult days lie ahead for this nation.

God has not spoken to me, as He did to the prophet Habakkuk; however, His Word speaks to all of us. And our country, like ancient Israel, is rife with the same sins. God is going to judge America for her many sins. The question is, when will this judgment fall?

As your pastor, I have a divine responsibility to strengthen your faith with the Word of God and by modeling my life before you; making disciples of Christ.

My brothers and sisters, are our souls ready to experience what is coming to our country? God told Habakkuk what was coming and the news caused him to tremble. God is allowing us to see the signs in our country and across the world and I sense that people are beginning to tremble.

I believe many of us think that the Rapture is the church’s escape plan. Yes, I believe Scripture promises the church to escape the Great Tribulation; however, there will be many smaller tribulations, [like the collapse of our economic system, martial law, restricted freedoms, fear in the streets, etc.] that impact the church.

My brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of the Lord not to dismiss current events or to become discouraged. Rather, we are to embrace God, as did Habakkuk, seek to fulfill our mission as a church, bringing Jesus into the lives of others.

With that being said, let us look at the final portion of Habakkuk’s prayer of praise.

Fourth, Habakkuk praises God because… (17-20)

–God’s sovereignty never changes (17).
–God’s salvation is sure (18).
–God’s strength will help us walk with Him (19)

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines;
though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food;
though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls;
yet, I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
and makes me walk on my high places.

Applications from Habakkuk’s praise

When the Chaldeans ransack the nations, they wiped out the permanent crops [figs, grapes, olives], the basic food and the flocks. In other words, God oversaw the destruction of Israel’s economy. What did that mean for the people of Israel? There was no food in the land. The absence of social services, like those of today, guaranteed that the young, the old, and the sick would most likely die of starvation.

What do we say today, when any of us lose our job and become unemployed; when the insurance runs out; when social security check is denied? Even worse, what might be our reaction should Wall Street collapse, wiping out all of our savings?

A word to the wise and prudent: Our country is on the verge of economic collapse. Even now, America is financially bankrupt, not to mention morally and spiritually bankrupt. Even though many people may lose everything, God remains in control. After all, He is responsible for removing those things in our lives.

Conclusion

This is Communion Sunday. Someone has said that God tries our faith so that we may try God. When God gives His people unwanted burdens, God also provides His undeserved blessings. Therefore, thankfulness comes from what is in our hearts, not what is in our hands.

Even though I have lost everything [consider Job], I will rejoice in the Lord for He has guided my steps into this experience. May each of us cultivate a heart like that of Habakkuk, of Job, and of Jesus. Amen.

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First Baptist Church 879 Sawyer Street ~ South Portland, Maine 04106
Office: (207) 799-4565 Fax: (207) 799-5922
Website: http://www.spfbc.com Email: southportland.fbc@gmail.com