THE GREAT TRIBULATION
All we can do in the short time of Sunday School is give a brief overview. You need to study for yourselves to really understand these things. I wish we had more time but even now we have to break some of the lessons over a period of weeks and I feel we can’t do justice to them.
Memory verses: Zeph.1:14,15 (“the great day of the LORD…is a day of wrath”); 1Th. 5:1-11
Prayer: That we might pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of the Jewish people.
Key Verses: Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6:1-8; Zeph. 1:14-18; 1Thess. 5:3-10; Rev. 13:16-18;
Rev. 14:10,11; Matt. 24:3-39; Luke 17:26-30.
Jeremiah prophesied of the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). The unbelieving Jew with all unbelievers, will go into the last great tribulation period, following the rapture of the saints (Matt 24:21). Other prophets tell of the same terrible time (Zeph. 1:14,15; Isa. 34:1-3, 24:1-12). A comparison of the book of Revelation with Exodus will show that the plagues in Egypt were only types which faintly foreshadowed the more terrible plagues that will be on the earth. The Tribulation is not so much wars, and famines, and things upon the earth - Tribulation comes as the judgment of God upon the earth. He may use these things - but Tribulation has to come - according to prophecy - from God as a matter of judgment. It will be “great tribulation.” Jacob’s descendents have paid for their sins in the past and there is to be this last and final judgment (tribulation), after which a nation shall be born in a day (Rev. 1:7; Isa. 66:8).
The great tribulation is covered in Rev. 6 through 16. This is also Daniel’s “Seventieth Week” or the “Reign of Anti-Christ,” (Dan. 9:1-27). At the rapture, the human temples of the Holy Spirit will be taken away, that the man of sin might be revealed. This terrible tribulation period is also described by the Lord to His disciples in Matt. 24:3-39. These words cannot be wholly referring to the sufferings of the Jews at the time of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70.
In Matt 24:2, we read: “There shall not be left here one stone...” The fulfillment of this prophecy would be most unlikely, for some of them were 65 feet by l0 feet by 8 feet. Also, Titus was a very mild-mannered commander, who would not order such a thing to be done. Yet it did come to pass, because the Lord Jesus said it would. The soldiers not only took the stones apart, but plowed up the ground underneath, looking for gold supposedly buried beneath the temple (Jer. 26:18). This happened in the years 70-73 A.D.
I love doing research on the internet. If you google “destruction of the temple in 70 AD” You will get 1,860,000 hits, and you will see this is an actual event – not only predicted by Jesus and the prophets – it is recorded history. It really did happen, just like Jesus said it would.
We see, especially in Daniel and Revelation, that the “Tribulation” is to be seven years in length, divided into two 3½ year periods. Pastor I. D. Riddick used to say, “Seven years in its entirety, 3½ years in its intensity.” The two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, prophesy for 3½ years (Rev. 11:3). At the same time the beast has made a covenant with the Jews, which lasts 42 months, or 3½ years, then he kills the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7). In the middle of the week (of seven years) the dragon (Satan) is cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-9) and the beast breaks his covenant with the Jews and offers a sow upon the altar in Jerusalem (Dan. 9:27; Mark 13:14). Then will be the day of God’s wrath. God will avenge Himself of the treatment this world has accorded His Son and His saints. He will fully avenge His elect (Luke 18:7; Rev. 6:9-10). He will pour out the vials of His wrath to the last bitter dregs upon this old sin-cursed and devil-darkened earth for a period of 3½ years (Rev. 13:5-8).
Memory Verse: 1John 2:22
Key Verses: Rev. 13:1-18, 16:13-14, 17:1-18, 19:20-21; Dan. 7:8-23,25, 8:23-26, 9:26-27
There is much revealed in the Bible about the Anti-Christ:
· He is the Fourth Wild Beast (Dan. 7:7,8,19,20,23-25)
· He is the Little Horn of the He-Goat (Dan. 8:8-12,23-25)
· He is the Willful King (Dan. 11:36-39)
· He is the Son of Perdition (2Thess. 2:3-12)
· He will be the Beast out of the Sea (Rev. 13:1-7)
He will pose as a great humanitarian, the friend of men, and the special friend of the Jewish race, whom he will persuade that he has come to usher in the “Golden Age,” as pictured by the prophets, and who will receive him as their Messiah. It is likely that he will be a Syrian Jew (like Judas). He will intoxicate men with a strong delusion and his never varying success (Dan. 7:25, 8:25, 11:36).
The Anti-Christ will receive a “deadly wound,” probably at the hand of an assassin (Rev. 13:3), and as his body is prepared for burial, he will rise from the dead. By this resurrection of the Anti-Christ, Satan imitates the Resurrection of Christ and makes the world “wonder after the Beast” (Rev. 13:3-18), and this adds to his prestige and power. This probably happens at the “Middle of the Week,” which would account for the change that takes place in the Anti-Christ. Before receiving his deadly wound he is sweet and lovable, but after his resurrection or recovery he will become Devilish, the result of the Dragon incarnating himself in him.
The Anti-Christ will be an actual man, although a “composite” man. One who embraces in his character the abilities and powers of Nebuchadnezzar, Xerses, Alexander the Great and Caesar Augustus. He will have the marvelous gift of attracting unregenerate men, and the irresistible fascination of his personality, his versatile attainments, superhuman wisdom, great administrative and executive ability, a superb strategist, will make him the most conspicuous and prominent of men. He will accept the “Kingdoms of this world” that Satan offered Christ, and that Christ refused (Matt. 4:8-10). He will also exalt himself and claim to be God (2Thess 2:4).
After the Battle of Armageddon, the Beast and the false prophet will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:11-20).
THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
Memory Verse: Zeph. 1:7, 3:8
Key Verses: Zech. 14:1-4; Joel 3:11-16; 2Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 6:14-17, 14:17-20
Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:9-11) from the Mount of Olives, and is returning to the same spot (Zech. 14:4). Jesus went away with a physical body, and He will return the same way, although now with a glorified body (Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 14:1-9). He has been Prophet and Priest, now He is coming to reign as a King.
Verses 11-12 He is coming to “judge and make war.” Let’s face it, the Christ which the modernists have carved out for themselves is a non-existent idol, and they worship a god of their own making just as did the pagans of antiquity. They tell us of a Christ who forgives and who will forgive everyone in the world - with no exceptions - because he is so loving. This god they have chiseled out of their own stony hearts. The scriptures tell us of “the terror of the Lord” (2Cor. 5:11) and of a Christ who is coming again to save those who have trusted in His shed blood, and to destroy those who have rejected His words.
Verse 13 “clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.” Isaiah 63:1-6 shows this statement to be true - it speaks of Armageddon. “His name is called The Word of God.” Jesus is the outward manifestation - the LIVING WORD - of the unseen God. The Bible, on the other hand is the WRITTEN WORD of God! At Christ’s first coming, He came riding on a donkey - an animal of peace. But now at His second coming, he comes riding on a white horse - a regal animal to make war against the evil on earth.
Verse 14 - Here the believers of the ages, including us, having been gathered together into one group at the rapture (1Thess. 4:16-17) come with Christ dressed in white robes.
Verse 15 - Christ here comes as God and thus His word of judgement is immediately translated by his deity into the performance of that word. As God, he said: “…Let there be light: and there was light.” Hence, His omnipotent word is shown as a sharp sword that will smite the nations. “He shall rule...with a rod of iron.” Here the coming millennial reign is shown. For you see, although Christ will then reign, sinners will still be born during that time and thus authority and power will still be necessary.
Armageddon is pictured in numerous places as a winepress. This vast assemblage is likened to grapes in the winepress because here they will be stamped and tread upon in an unsparing judgment. The blood of the wicked will splatter just as the juice of the grapes.
Verse 16 - “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” This name depicts the true nature of its wearer, Jesus. Let the “Jehovah’s witnesses” come with their riddles, over and over again this book of Revelation asserts unmistakably the deity of Christ.
Verses 17-18 Here an angel standing with the sun as his background invites the birds of the sky to the “the supper of the great god.” Thus this chapter speaks of two end-time contrasting suppers. In 19:9 we read of “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
The armies of the wicked nations that in the end-time choose to follow the Anti-Christ shall - at this Revelation appearance of Jesus Christ - be involved in the other supper. These shall be slain by “the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:8) and their dead bodies shall lie upon the ground to be picked at by the crows, hawks, buzzards and vultures.
Verse 19 - The book of Revelation teaches that Anti-Christ, the Beast, and his end-time ten kings, along with his armies from all the world, come to the Armageddon region of Palestine at the end of the tribulation period for some arch-diabolical reason, part of which is a satanic effort to annihilate the remnant of Israel as well as those gentiles who have turned to Christ during the tribulation.
Verse 20 - The Antichrist and the False Prophet are thrown directly into the Lake of Fire; they are not merely slain as are the multitudes of their followers.
Verse 21 - Isaiah 10:20-22 speaks of another “remnant” which will believe in the Lord amid the general apostasy. This remnant is the remnant unto life; they turn to God and He saves them from perishing. Here at Christ’s appearance Zechariah 12:9-10 will be fulfilled as the remnant of Israel looks to Christ as their deliver and Messiah. In Revelation 19:21, however, we see a remnant unto death. That is, all those of the armies which followed the Antichrist who were not at once thrown into the Lake of Fire, as were their two supreme leaders, are the “remnant” who are slaughtered by Christ at His coming.
The battle is named for the place in which it is to be fought (Rev. 16:13-16). This is a high table-land forming a pass between Egypt and Syria and became a famous battleground for many armies. It is located in the southwestern edge of Galilee. Thothmas III (1479–1426 BC), who made Egypt a world-empire, said, “Megiddo is worth a thousand cities.” Barak and Gideon had victories here. Saul, Josiah and Ahaziah were slain here. In 1918 during World War I, General Allenby broke the power of the Turkish army at Megiddo. It has been said that more blood has been shed around this plain than any other spot on earth. In the final battle here (Rev. 14:14-20), blood will be to the horses bridle for a space of 200 miles (see also Is. 34:7-8).
The combatants are to be the kings of the earth and their armies under the leadership of the beast and false prophet on one side, and KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS and His people - the Jews and the glorified saints - on the other (Joel 2:11; Zech. 12:2,3,8,9, 14:3; Rev. 19:11-21). Here we will have the fulfillment of Psalm 2. As the Beast and false prophet gather the nations of the wicked earth to go against Jerusalem, they will but fulfill the purpose of God, for it is His design to gather all nations together for the purpose of judging them (Joel 3:2) and pouring out upon them His indignation and fierce anger (Zeph 3:8). The Vengeance of the Lord in connection with this battle will be worldwide (Jer. 25:15-33; Isa. 24:17-21; Matt. 25:31-46).