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The Tribulation Period

According to the Bible there is coming a calamity unlike any which this weary world has ever see. Although this future period will be relatively short, it will nevertheless destroy more of this earth's population than all previous disasters combined. In fact, over one billion people will be struck down during the beginning of this terrible coming disaster. There are many names of this period found in the Bible such as the Time of Jacob's Trouble, Daniel's Seventieth Week, and the day of the Lord, but this blood-chilling period is most known as the Tribulation.

The word "tribulation" is derived from the Latin tribulum, which was an agricultural tool used for separating the husks from the corn. As found in the Bible, the theological implications would include such concepts as a pressing together, an affliction, a burdening with anguish and trouble, and a binding with oppression. Keeping this in mind, it would seem that of all the names for the coming calamity the "tribulation" would most accurately describe this period. Therefore from this point on, the term tribulation will be employed.

Timeline

The Chronology of the Tribulation

The first half of the tribulation (3 1/2 years)
1. The formal organization of the super harlot church (Rev. 17).
2. The appearance of the antichrist and his false prophet. See Daniel 7:19-25; 11:36-45; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation13. It is entirely possible that the antichrist will come from the United Nations, while the false prophet may well proceed from the World Council of Churches.
It is also entirely feasible that both personages are alive and active in this world right now, and are waiting for the rapture to remove the final barrier, thus allowing them to begin their deadly and damnable work.
3. The revival of the Roman Empire (Dan. 2:41; 7:7,8; Rev. 13:1; 17:12). It will consist of ten nations which will be united by the antichrist.
4. The antichrist's seven-year covenant with Israel. It will be broken by the antichrist after three and a half years.
5. The pouring out of the six seals (Mt. 24:4-4; Rev. 6:1-17).

1st Seal - Rise of the antichrist
2nd Seal - War and bloodshed break out worldwide
3rd Seal - Famine strikes the world
4th Seal - Widespread death by war, starvation, and wild beasts
5th Seal - The cry of the martyred
6th Seal - Earth's greatest earthquake and greatest cosmic disturbances
6. The mass return of the Jews to Palestine.
7. The conversion and call of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1-4). This does not mean that God will save only Jews during the tribulation, for in Revelation 7:9-17 the Bible declares that a great multitude from every nation will be saved. What this chapter does teach, however, is that God will send out 144,000 Jews to evangelize the world.
8. The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. There is ample scriptural evidence to show that the antichrist will allow (and perhaps even encourage) the building of the Temple and the rendering of its sacrifices during the tribulation. See Daniel 9:27; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:14,15; 11:2.
9. The ministry of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-13). They will prophesy in sackcloth before men, smite the earth with every kind of plague, and prevent rain for three and a half years.


The middle segment of the tribulation (small amount of time)
1. The Gog and Magog invasion into Palestine (Ezek. 38,39). The identity of the invader will be Russia.
2. The martyrdom of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7). There is a hint in Revelation 11:8 that the two witnesses will be crucified by the antichrist.
3. The martyrdom of the 144,000 Hebrew evangelists (Rev. 14:1-5).
4. The casting out of heaven's monster (Rev. 12:3-15). There is no doubt that this "creature from the clouds" is Satan. His location has been, is now, or shall be in one of the following places:

A. In heaven, as God's anointed angel (past location - Ezek. 28:14).
B. In heaven, as God's chief enemy (present location - Job 1-2).
C. On earth, as the antichrist's spiritual guide (future location, during the tribulation - Rev. 12:12).
D. In the bottomless pit (future, during the millennium - Rev. 20:1-3).
E. On earth again (future, after the millenium - Rev. 20:8,9)
F. In the lake of fire (future and forever - Rev. 20:10).
5. The destruction of the false church (Rev. 17:16). One of the most ironic turn of events in all history will be the destruction of the false church. This evil organization will meet its doom, not at the hands of Gabriel, or the Father, or the Son, or the Spirit, but the antichrist.
We have already seen how the false church elevates the antichrist into power. But then she apparently attempts to control him. He will have none of it, however, and will destroy her buildings, burn her holy books, and murder her priests.


The last half of the tribulation (3 1/2 years)
1. The full manifestation of the antichrist. After the judgment of Russia, the destruction of the false church, and the murder of most of God's preachers (the 144,000 and the two witnesses), an unbelievable vacuum will undoubtedly settle down upon the world. The antichrist will immediately exploit this. The following is but a suggestion of the chronology of events which may take place at this critical time.

A. The antichrist and his false prophet make their headquarters in Jerusalem after God destroys Russia.
B. Here in the holy city, perhaps during a television speech, the antichrist is suddenly assassinated, as millions of astonisheds viewers watch (Rev. 13:3,14).
C. Before his burial (perhaps during the state funeral) he suddenly rises from the dead. The world is electrified!
D. The antichrist is immediately worshiped by the world as God.
E. The false prophet thereupon makes a statue of the antichrist, causes it to speak, and places it in the Holy of Holies (Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Mt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4).
F. A law is passed which stipulates that no one can buy, sell, work, or obtain any necessity of life unless he carries a special mark on his right hand or his forehead to identify him as a worshiper of the beast (Rev. 13:16,17).
G. The number of this mark is 666 (Rev. 13:18).
2. Worldwide persecution of Israel. When the Israelites see the statue of the antichrist standing in their Holy of Holies, the words of Christ will come to their minds. He had warned them of this very thing many centuries earlier (Mt. 24:15-20).
3. The pouring out of the last seal judgment (Rev. 8, 9; 11:15-19). This final seal judgment consists of seven trumpet plagues.
First Trumpet - Hail and fire will be mixed with blood and shall fall from the sky. One third of all vegetation will be destroyed.
Second Trumpet - An enormous asteroid falls from space and lands in the ocean. One third of ocean life and ships are destroyed.
Third Trumpet - A great comet named Wormwood will fall from the sky. Its remnants will contaminate one third of all fresh water. Many will die because of this.
Fourth Trumpet - One third of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened.
Fifth Trumpet (1st Woe) - A plague of locusts that will last for five months. People will seek death but will not die.
Sixth Trumpet (2nd Woe) - One third of the populace is killed by a demonic army of two hundred million.
Seventh Trumpet (3rd Woe) - The Temple in heaven is opened causing a great hailstorm and a terrible earthquake.
4. The messages of the three special angels (Rev. 14:6-12).
5. The pouring out of the seven bowls ("vials") of judgment (Rev. 16).
First Vial - Terrible sores upon the followers of the antichrist.
Second Vial - Total poisoning of all salt water.
Third Vial - Total poisoning of all fresh water.
Fourth Vial - Fearful and blistering heat from the sun.
Fifth Vial - Darkness upon the capital of the antichrist.
Sixth Vial - The drying up of the River Euphrates to prepare for Armageddon.
Seventh Vial - The world's greatest earthquake and hailstorm.
6. The sudden destruction of economic and political Babylon (Rev. 18). It is likely that literal Babylon will be rebuilt during the tribulation.
7. The battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). The Holy Spirit of God has chosen five capable authors to describe for us in clear and chilling language that most famous of all battles - Armageddon. These five authors include David, Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah, and John. (See Isa. 34:1-6; 63:3,4,6; Joel 3:2,9-16; Zech. 12:2; 14:2,3,12; Rev. 16:16; 19:11-21.)
This coming War of Armageddon will be by far the biggest, boldest, bloodiest, most brazen, and most blasphemous of all times. Armageddon is not the final war in the Bible, though. The final war occurs after the millennium (Rev. 20:7-9). Armageddon takes place at the end of the tribulation.

This great battle will begin with the drying up of the Eurphrates River (Rev. 16:12). When this watery barrier is removed, tens of millions of soldiers from China, India, and other Asian powers will march straight for Armageddon and destruction. Unfortunately, this will end with the destruction of Jerusalem. This will be the fourty-seventh and last take over of the beloved city of David. After this, both the angels in paradise and the demons in perdition will surely hold their breath because of the suspense for what is coming next.


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The Second Coming of Christ


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