Series: Out Of This World And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation 6-18

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1 Series: Out Of This World And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation 6-18 Dr. Jon McNeff, Senior Pastor February 7, 2010 Note: The following are the pastor s notes used in preaching this message. This is not a complete, word-for-word transcription of what was preached. These notes serve as a companion to the complete message, which is available by listening to the audio version. The world is not going to get better The Bible teaches that the world is headed toward a time of God s wrath being exercised against all wickedness on this earth a time of utter chaos, terrifying destruction and loss of life, and the appearance of Satan indwelled Anti-christ who will lead the world to the final battle against God Himself I. THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIBULATION A. Pre-tribulation rapture? First issue how do we know when it starts? Amillennialists think we are in it right now but it is impossible to see anything happening in Revelation 6-18 as happening now premillennialists say we can t tell when it begins rapture will happen at the end I believe the rapture of the church as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 will initiate the Tribulation why? It preserves the biblical sense of immanency the expectation of the return of Christ at any time is prominent in the New Testament (N.T.) James, writing what was probably the earliest of N.T. epistles said in James 5:7-9 be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Hebrews 10:37 yet a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay 1 Thessalonians 4:15 we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord 1 Thessalonians 4:17 we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus midtribulation, pre-wrath (before the worst judgments), and post-tribulation ignore the blessed hope instead have us looking for some kind of ominous sign of wrath There is no mention of judgment in the rapture passages 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. In contrast the Second Coming passages all include judgment Revelation 19:11-21 and Matthew 24:29-44 both do 1 Thessalonians 1:10 Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come. 5:9 God has not destined us for wrath some say this refers to unbelievers but it is clearly believers If the above is true, then it is best to place the rapture before the tribulation since it seems to precede God s judgment B. The seven seal judgments The seal judgments cover the entire book of Revelation The first four first half of Tribulation Fifth best place for middle of Tribulation Sixth and seventh last half the Great Tribulation 1 Out of This World Series: And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation 6-18

2 The seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments The seventh trumpet judgment contains the seven bowl judgments Seven seal judgments g Seven trumpet judgments g Seven bowl judgments Note the Lamb broke all the seals this is God s wrath not man s or Satan s destroys prewrath, and post-tribulation rapture The seven seal judgments parallel Matthew 24: Matthew 24:4-5 First seal False peace Matthew 24:6-7 Second seal Worldwide war Matthew 24:7 Third seal Famine Matthew 24:7 Fourth seal Earthquakes Matthew 24:9 Fifth seal Martyrdom Matthew 24:29 Sixth seal Cosmic chaos Matthew 24:29b Seventh seal Cataclysmic events If you have any questions about the wrath of God in the beginning of the Tribulation just look at the first four seal judgments 1. The white horse false peace (Revelation 6:1-2) First of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse he has a bow, but no arrows and a crown was given to him but he went out conquering Daniel 9:27 indicates a world leader will make a covenant with Israel at beginning of Tribulation 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, Peace and safety! then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 2. The red horse war (Revelation 6:3-4) The false peace will dissolve rapidly red depicts fire and blood war Revelation 6:4 to him was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. Matthew 24:6-7 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom wars will be wide spread not only Anti-christ 3. The black horse famine (Revelation 6:5-6) Famine is a logical consequence of world-wide war a quart of wheat is enough for one day a denarius was one day s wage everything one earns will go to buy food Jesus prophesied this in Matthew 24:7 where famine followed wars among the nations 4. The ashen horse death (Revelation 6:7-8) Ashen horse had the name Death, and Hades was following with him follows three and a half years of wars and famine destroys one fouth of world 1.5 billion people by war, famine, pestilence disease chemical warfare wild beasts prey on man as protections break down Out of This World Series: And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation

3 II. THE MIDDLE OF THE TRIBULATION A. Mid-tribulation rapture? Reasons for mid-tribulation rapture: 1. The emphasis on three and a half years in Daniel and Revelation Daniel 9:27 says in the middle of the seven years Anti-christ will put an end to sacrifice and grain offering performing an abomination in the Temple Daniel 7:25 says he will have authority to attempt alterations in times and in law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. Revelation 13:5 he will have a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months Response if the rapture happens here it ignores four horsemen 2. The greater emphasis on wrath in the last three and a half years of the Tribulation Matthew 24:7 famine and earthquakes will follow massive war just like Revelation 6 Matthew 24:8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. just the beginning of God s wrath verse 9 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. Response 1 Thessalonians 5:9 God has not destined us for wrath even the wrath of wars, famines, diseases, and wild animals 3. A time of apostasy precedes the day of the Lord 2 Thessalonians 2:1 they were concerned that the day of the Lord had already come verse 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the day of the Lord) will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction apostasy must come before the rapture Response the day of the Lord does not refer to the rapture this phrase is found 19 times in the Old Testament (O.T.) and four times in the N.T. it always pictures judgment not the comfort of the rapture seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 the wrath of the day of the Lord is seen in two places 1) the end of the seven-year tribulation period (cf. Revelation 19:11 21), and 2) the end of the Millennium 1000 years apart 2 Peter 3:10 gives final picture of this But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. this is not the rapture! 4. What is happening here in Revelation 6:9 when the fifth seal is broken? clue in Revelation 12:9 Satan and his minions thrown down from heaven verse 12 he has great wrath knowing that he has only a short time. immediately began persecuting the woman who gave birth to the child Who? Israel Revelation 13:3 Satan gives his power to the Anti-christ embodying him and in verse 5 gives him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months verse 7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them begins to attack Israel with a vengeance abomination of desolation B. The abomination of desolation Daniel gives us another clue not mentioned overtly in Revelation must fit it somewhere Revelation 9:6 is a logical place Daniel 9:27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. What s happening here? the covenant of peace made with Israel at the beginning of the Tribulation is broken in a violent way picture of this in Daniel 11 amazing detail of history from 3 Out of This World Series: And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation 6-18

4 Alexander the Great to Antiochus IV Syrian King who ruled from 175 B.C. to 163 B.C. called himself Epiphanes which means great one others called him Epimanes = maniac Daniel 11:21 he was a despicable man Daniel 11:29-30 his second attack on Egypt is repelled he returned through Israel and became enraged at the holy covenant Daniel 11:31 he went on to desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. he attacked the Temple, sacrificed a pig on the altar and poured sow s broth on it erected a statue of Zeus in the Temple banned circumcision (checked men on the street) massacred 80,000 men, took 40,000 prisoners, sold 40,000 as slaves destroyed a Jewish attempt to replace his designated priest named Menelaus This is just a picture of what Anti-christ will do he will stop the sacrifices, mutilate the altar, turn against the Jews by profaning all that they call holy and proclaim himself to be God! Matthew 24:15-16 Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Revelation 13:7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. Daniel 7:21 sees him as waging war with the saints and overpowering them Back in Matthew 24:16-20 flee and pray that it will not be in winter or on a Sabbath Matthew 24:21 For then there will be a great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. that s what is happening in Revelation 6:9 it couldn t have referred to A.D. 70 as preterists assert the tribulation then was not the worst the world has seen holocaust! and Revelation 6:9 C. Seven seals continued 5. Divine judgment Revelation 6:9-11 After the abomination of desolation Revelation 6:9 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 those slaughtered after abomination of desolation first fruits of Tribulation cf. v. 11 they received a white robe symbol of purity How will these be saved? copies of Scripture leave your Bible marked up for unsaved relatives! people in liberal churches will think back on what they were taught some of you here today who reject will remember this then no Sunday Christians then! they will testify of Christ and be killed for their testimony! Revelation 6:10 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? remember this is the wrath of God against wickedness His answer follows 6. Physical destruction Revelation 6:12-17 God answers their prayers in verses 12-14: A great earthquake nothing more unsettling than the earth beneath your feet shaking worse than Haiti The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair comparison to a black mourner s robe The whole moon became like blood also spoken of in Joel 2:31 and Isaiah 13:10 possibly from the ash from volcanic mountains that were shaken during the earthquake surrealistic, reddish haze over everything this will grow worse when normal cycle of sun and darkness is disrupted Out of This World Series: And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation

5 stars of the sky fell to the earth probably not actual stars since they are as large as the earth the word refers to any heavenly body other than the sun and moon probably meteors as many as figs falling out of a tree when shaken In the atmosphere the sky was split apart roiling clouds and disruption in the sky will give it the appearance of rolling up like a scroll every mountain and island were moved out of their places the whole crust of the earth will move and shake cataclysmic damage They run and hide hell is coming are you prepared? Questions for Further Review 1. What do you think of when you think of the Tribulation? 2. What are the three sets of seven successive judgments in Revelation 6-18 called? 3. What are the first four seal judgments and what do they signify? 4. Where might the middle of the Tribulation be placed in Revelation 6? Why could it be placed there? 5. What is the significance of Revelation 7 in the sequence of the seven seal judgments? 6. Do you think Christians will be on earth during the seal judgments? Why or why not? 5 Out of This World Series: And Hell Came With Him: The Progression of the Tribulation in Revelation 6-18

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