Tribulation & Trouble

Series: Blessed Hope. James Dewhurst March 21, 2021

Blessed Hope

Tribulation & Trouble

The great coach John Wooden once said – “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

The mark of a great coach isn’t someone who paints some false picture of a bed of roses for his team! A great coach doesn’t hide certain challenging truths or reduce the reality of their opposition’s plans and prowess. A great coach doesn’t overlook the inevitable sacrifice it will require to not only survive but to succeed. A great coach lays every daunting detail on the table, to make sure the team won’t become bewildered in the battle. The game tape is watched, details are discussed and preparations are made!

E. Stanley Jones once stated – “Bitterness comes to all. It spurs some, sweetens others. I will use it to sweeten my spirit.”

John 16:33

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (ESV)

1 Corinthians 15:57

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

Deuteronomy 20:4

4 for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ (ESV)

Matthew 24:21-30

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. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’or ‘There he is!’do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (ESV)

Jesus begins this passage by describing a future period of trouble and distress that will be incomparable to any other time in history. The words “great distress” in Greek are also translated as “Great Tribulation”, and mean a physical and spiritual squeezing and crushing. This future period will be filled with so much trouble that Jesus says in Luke 21:26, “Men will faint in terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

Scholars believe that the Great Tribulation will last 7 years, according to Daniel 9:24-27. The first 3 and a half years will be a time of relative peace as the anti-Christ builds his empire, and makes a peace treaty with Israel. The second half of the tribulation will be characterized by an unspeakable reign of terror under the Antichrist until Jesus returns to defeat him in the battle of Armageddon. Israel will be at the center of the final events!

Who is this Antichrist? He will be an imposter or a pseudo-Christ who claims to be Jesus and will perform false miracles and set himself up as the center of hope for the world. He will be brilliant in knowledge, oratory, and politics, and will deceive many.

Matthew 24:23-25

23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’or ‘There he is!’do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. (ESV)

According to Daniel 9:27, the Great Tribulation will be inaugurated with the rise of the Anti-Christ and will be ended at the 2nd coming of Christ. Revelation 16-20 reveals the Tribulation period will end at the final Battle of Armageddon, where Jesus and his angel army will defeat the Antichrist, capture him, and throw him into the lake of fire!

Most theologians believe that present Christians will be raptured before the tribulation period begins, and those who are left will have an opportunity to find Christ during the tribulation period itself. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

While some believe the second coming of Jesus is taking too long, others believe the sobering events surrounding his return are heartless. But our God is neither cruel nor slow:

2 Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (ESV)

Regardless of how much truth, time, or attention, just like it was in Egypt with pharaoh after the 10 plagues, there will be those who still refuse Christ. They will choose ruin over redemption, suffering instead of salvation, and judgment instead of joy!

C.S. Lewis – “There are only two kinds of people in the end: Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done and those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done. All who are in hell choose it.”

The Bible describes 3 world conditions that will exist during the great tribulation:

1. The rise of Globalism and the Antichrist!

A global economy, religious intolerance, and fascist politics will be dominant during the reign of the Antichrist. He will attempt to unite the whole world under his cruel tyranny!

Political deception and personal destruction will dominate during the Tribulation!

2. The rise of a world Economy and Religion!

Ronald Reagan – “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

John’s vision recorded in Revelation 13, describes a beast or Antichrist rising out of the sea with ten horns. Theologians believe that these ten horns represent a ten-nation confederacy of the most powerful nations in the world, lead by the Antichrist. John describes 7 plagues that will likely devastate the world economy. It will be in this volatile season that the Anti-Christ will establish a one-world currency and government. Once in power, this beast will demand he is worshipped, and impose a mark to buy and sell:

2 Thessalonians 2:3-10

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (ESV)

The stage is set! The technology is here for chips to be placed in the hands of adults for business transactions and implanted in children at birth in the name of safety. At no time in history was technology in a place like it is today for the global control of every person at the hands of a diabolical dictator. Those who aren’t raptured will face tough times!

3. The rise of a Global Spiritual Awakening!

Why would God allow the tribulation period?

Revelation 13:5-8

5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. (ESV)

Revelation 13:16-18

16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (ESV)

Revelation 7:9-16

9 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!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 13 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. 15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. (ESV)

Whatever the enemy intends for evil, God always uses for our good!

Although the world looks like it is falling apart, God is holding us in the palm of his hands. David declared in Psalm 46 that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”. And while it looks like evil and the Antichrist is going to win, Ephesians 1:11 reminds us that God works everything out in accordance to his will”.

Although we live in a world of conflict, let us remember that God is in control!

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