Matthew 24: 34 tells us that the generation that sees these signs, will then be the generation that will not pass away until the tribulation runs its course. "Truly I say to you, that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur". So these conditions will begin before the tribulation starts, and then just grow and get worse and be carried right into the seven year tribulation period.
There are a great many verses in the Bible that describe the conditions that lead up to the tribulation. Jesus called this time the beginning of sorrows. He doesn't say how long these "sorrows" will last, but as these sorrows continue, the conditions on earth keep getting worse and worse. Here are just a few of the conditions that lead up to the start of the tribulation.
Two things happening at the same time.
2 Thessalonians 2:3, says that in the end times there will be a falling away from the faith. "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come (speaking of the end times) unless the abandonment of faith comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, that son of destruction."
Matthew 24:14 says "And the gospel of the kingdom of God shall be preached in the whole world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come".
This is interesting because these two things are going to be happening at the exact same time. First, as we get closer and closer to the tribulation period, the Word of God is going to be taught over the entire world, much as it is today. But yet at the same time most people will be abandoning whatever faith they have. It appears that very little of what is being preached is going to be accepted and followed. The earth will be full of false Christians that allow the word of God to go in one ear and out the other. Again, just like it is in these present times.
A great many verses all through the Bible deal with this coming spiritual famine. The following verse is a good example.
Amos 8:11 "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord God, "That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord."
But these two opposite things happening at the same time will have one extremely important purpose. In Matthew 24:14 there is a phrase that says, "for a witness unto all nations". This means that every person on earth would have been forced, one way or another, into being a witness to the words of Jesus Christ. Either as a witness against the words of Jesus Christ, so that his words are rejected and discarded, or as a witness to the truthfulness and validity of the testimony of Jesus Christ, so that what he says should be believed and should be followed. And thus it clearly indicates to God the heart condition of every one of us.
Apostasy is the falling away from the truth of the Word of God. In the end times, most weak believers will abandon God and look to the world for answers. They will say that they are Godly true Christians, but their hearts and minds won't be concerned with the Lord. And that is exactly what the Bible warns us about.
Some other things that will be occurring on the road leading up to the tribulation.
II Timothy 3:5, tells us that in the end times there will be men that have a form of godliness, but it is all false. Many false teachers will have other motives, personal motives, when teaching the word of God. "Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these".
Matthew 24:6, talks about wars. "And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end". It is true that there have always been wars going on, but nothing like what has taken place during the lifetime of this present generation.
Luke 21:10-11, has Jesus telling us that many bad things will be occurring. "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs". The words nation and kingdom refer to not only individual countries, but also to more specific groups of people within a country, like tribes, sects, or even races of people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, "That in the last days critical times that are hard to deal with will be here. That people will be without natural affection. There will be parents against children, children against parents, brother against brother, sister against sister, etc. Children will be disobedient to their parents, unthankful and unholy. Men shall be lovers of their own selves". Again, does this not sound like our present day society?
Mark 13:12, says family members will cause each others death. "And brother will deliver brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death". Right before the tribulation it appears that the basic family unit has pretty much been destroyed, and what ever members are left seem to hate each other.
Again these are only a few of the many verses regarding the conditions that lead up to the tribulation. The problem is that these things are happening to a very great degree all over the world right now. Wars are raging in many countries all over the earth right now. Murders by the millions are happening in places like Rwanda and Bosnia and in so many other places right now. The killing and terrible abuse by one family member on another family member happens constantly on a daily basis all over this world. We read almost daily of men murdering their entire families. Women by the millions think nothing of murdering their unborn babies. Famine and poverty run rampant through out the world and half of the world's population is constantly hungry. Every Bible verse that speaks about the conditions leading into the tribulation are happening now and this is why the tribulation could happen very soon.
So with that in mind, let's get on with the actual tribulation period itself. Those last 7 years of intense misery and suffering for all those that are alive on the earth.
Definition - Tribulation--Distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution.
We now enter the actual seven year period of tribulation. It tells all about the tribulation in the book of Revelation 6:1 to 11:15. It begins with the first of seven seals being opened. As each seal is opened in heaven, horrible events begin to occur on earth. When the seven seals are all opened, then it is time for the seven trumpets to be sounded and even more suffering and death begins to occur. This indeed is going to be a very bad time for the people of the earth.
How bad will the tribulation be? There are many verses in the Bible that describes just how bad this period is going to be. A good example is the following verse from the book of Isaiah.
There is no doubt that the Tribulation period is indeed going to be a very horrible and terrible time and verses like the following will certainly come true. 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 shall."
But as you read about it, look just below the surface, and I think you will see that the tribulation is also going to be a separation process. A seven year separation process that separates the believers from the nonbelievers, the saved from the unsaved, the Christ lovers from the Christ haters.
You will see that the eighth and ninth chapters of Revelation describe the woes which come from the trumpet judgments. Certainly, the terrors described there would make even the bravest person faint with fear. You might imagine that after all the devastation that God rains down, people would acknowledge him and repent. However, that is not the case.
Revelation 9:20 reports, "The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands."
So by the time the trumpet judgments begin to sound, there is a tremendous hardness of the heart that has overcome a great many people in the world. It is going to be truly a sorrowful sight. People who are so steeped in their own sin that they will not acknowledge the living God - no matter what the consequences, no matter what the evidence.
The Seven Seals (Starts at Revelation 6:1)
First Seal--As the first seal is opened it heralds the arrival of the first horseman. He is on a white horse and he is none other than the antichrist. (Rev 6:2)
Second Seal--The arrival of the red horse which stands for war. War that is going to spread across the earth, and on the footsteps of war will be famine, rampant pestilence and disease. (Rev 6:3)
Third Seal--The arrival of the back horse which stands for economic collapse and hardship the world over. (Rev 6:5)
Fourth Seal--The arrival of the pale horse which stands for death and which was given the authority to kill 1/4 of all the people on the earth. (With todays population that would be about 1.5 billion people).(Rev 6:7)
The Fifth Seal--Talks about the great persecution that comes to those that believe in Christ and says that Christians will be brought before kings and rulers for persecution. (Rev 6:9)
The Sixth Seal--Brings awesome and devastating occurrences in nature. (Rev 6:12)
The Seventh Seal--Opening this last seal unleashes the seven trumpets. (Rev 8:1)
The tribulation continues. Now that the seals have all been unsealed, it is time for the sounding of the seven trumpets. It is also interesting to note that generals in ancient times customarily directed their armies by the sound of a trumpet.
The Seven Trumpets (Starts at Revelation 8:6)
The First Trumpet--As the first trumpet sounds, hale and fire are hurled down to the earth and 1/3 of the earth is burned up. (Rev 8:7)
The Second Trumpet--A great fiery rock crashes into the sea and 1/3 of the sea becomes blood. (Rev 8:8)
The Third Trumpet--Objects fall from the sky and 1/3 of all the fresh water is poisoned and undrinkable. (Rev 8:10) It also tells us at Rev 8:11, that many more people die trying to drink this poisoned water.
The Fourth Trumpet-- Then the fourth trumpet is sounded and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. (Great disturbances occur in the sky. At the same time much global ecological devastation occurs.(Rev 8:12)
The Fifth Trumpet--As this fifth trumpet sounds, more incredible things continue to happen. Satan is barred from heaven, in fact he is the star that falls to earth which is talked about in Revelation 9:1. The devil himself is now on earth in both his spiritual and his physical bodies and he will stay on earth until the end of the millennium. So with his physical body, he now becomes visible and can be seen by all. Now the world can see him, talk to him, shake his hand and pat him on his back, and of course scheme and make deals with him. Now the wicked of this world have a powerful leader that they can see, admire, and gaze upon.(Rev 9:1)
So the star that fell from heaven is satan and he is given the key to the very pit that he is going to be spending the millennium in, but he needs this key to be able to release the locusts, because these locusts are symbolic for the other evil demons that look to satan as their leader, as the following verse describes.
Revelation 9:11 "And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon (destruction), but in Greek he has the name Apollyon (destruction)".
Also keep in mind that later on in the Book of Revelation, satan is physically bound with a great chain and thrown back into this pit for the 1,000 year millennium.
We also see here that the ones that have accepted the mark of the beast will not be killed during this fifth trumpet, but they will suffer terribly. In fact it is here where men suffer so much that they seek death but they are not allowed to die. However, that is all going to change because after the very next trumpet is sounded, 1/3 of the earth is going to die.
We see here that God also seals believers who have remained faithful to him, who haven't abandon him, who continue to look to him for guidance and direction, and who have not accepted the mark of the beast.
What is the Seal of God
The Sixth Trumpet--There are four angels at the Euphrates River and they are holding back the armies of the world. These four angels are released and 1/3 of all mankind is destroyed by these armies as they sweep over the earth. With the 1.5 billion people killed after the 4th seal was opened, this would come to another 1.5 billion people killed using todays population. (Rev 9:13-14)
In biblical days the Euphrates River use to frequently flood and cause a great deal of death and destruction to the people living along the length of this great river. So here the Euphrates river is symbolic for even more horrible times that are just ahead for a great many people. For example, there is going to be a 200 million man army sweeping over the earth causing the death of 1/3 of mankind. Revelation 9:14-15 "Untie the four angels that are bound at the great river Euphrates. So these four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind".
The Seventh Trumpet--When this last trumpet sounds there are loud voices in heaven, saying, " The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord ". With the sounding of this last trumpet the tribulation is over. (Rev 11:15)
There are a number of things that occur when this last trumpet sounds that indicate that the tribulation is over and that the rapture is taking place. Notice also that these all occur before the wrath of God begins and the seven bowels are poured out on the earth.
Revelation 11:15 announces the end of mankind's rule on the earth.
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."
Revelation 11:17 Tells us that as of this moment it is Jesus Christ who is ruling on the earth.
"We give Thee thanks, O Lord, God Almighty, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and has begun to reign".
Revelation 11:18 tells about how the appointed time of the dead has arrived, and that reward should now be given to the servants, prophets, and saints; and that it is time to destroy those who have destroyed the earth.
"The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come. And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and destroy those who destroy the earth."
Revelation 11:19 The temple of God is seen to be opened and the ark of the covenant becomes visible. It is the ark that holds the 10 commandments of God, and this indicates that the earth will from now on be govern by the laws of God and no longer by the laws of man.
"And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened, and the ark of the covenant appeared in His temple".
So the options for man during the Great Tribulation will be quite simple.
Obey the laws of God and suffer the wrath of man, or
Obey the laws of man and suffer the wrath of God.
Make no mistake. A wrath of some type will affect everyone during the tribulation because that will be the time when God declares war on sin. This coming tribulation has been carefully designed so that his laws will found to be in direct opposition to the laws of man. I believe that this coming tribulation is actually a test, and is a repeat of what happened in heaven before the earth was even created. Because before the world was, a war developed over the issue of worship. The devil wanted the adoration and worship that belonged to God. Eventually, God forced this contest to a showdown to reveal who would worship Almighty God, and who would worship satan. God lost one-third of his angels because they chose to worship satan rather than God. The angels who followed satan put a lot of faith in satan's lies, and his promises to elevate them above God.
So for the believer, the tribulation period will be the end of any association of any kind with the worldly system. It will be next to impossible to survive except by miracles from God and by having a very strong faith. Living by faith in a survival situation where the believer is watching as the world slips into a new dark age of anti-Christ, anti-God savagery. Christians will find themselves totally and completely independent from the worldly system, and in the days of the tribulation, the disobedient and weak Christians will no longer be able to try to serve both "God and the world."! (Mt.6:24) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So the rapture is not only the resurrection of the saints, but it is also the second coming of Christ. It is here, at this combination of rapture/resurrection/second coming, where 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is fulfilled.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
Therefore, the following are some very brief descriptions of a few of the above mentioned occurrences that take place as the seventh or last trumpet sounds.
1) Jesus comes back for his saints.
The book of Matthew tells us exactly what takes place when the tribulation is over, and it also shows that Jesus Christ himself promised that he would return for his saints immediately after the tribulation.
Matthew 24:29-30 "But 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 the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory".
2) Also those who died in Christ all through the ages are brought back to life. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 "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 shall rise first".
3) Also we that are alive, and those just brought back to life, are given glorified and immortal bodies, and are lifted up to be with Jesus who is waiting for us in the clouds. This is the rapture occurring.
1 Corinthians 15:52, "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 shall be changed".
1 Thessalonians 4:17, "Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord".
It is when this seventh and last trumpet is sounding that the tribulation is completely over and Jesus Christ appears and waits in the clouds while his angels gather up all of his saved children, both alive and those just brought back from the dead. And so the gathering of the saints of the Lord takes place.
When Jesus comes for us, his angels are with him, in fact it is they that are gathering us up; getting us ready to be propelled up to the waiting Lord. Matthew 24:31 "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other". (This may be another instance where your guardian angel has a very important duty to fulfill.)
But what is going to happen to the rest of the people, the ones that aren't raptured?
1---The people who are alive and are not saved and not raptured, will stay here on earth and await the wrath of God which will appear in the form of the seven bowls. They have survived the terrible 7 years of the tribulation. Most of them will still be ungodly and most of them will also be very angry at God for putting them through the terror of the last 7 years. Their anger and their hate for Jesus will make them easy pickings to become followers of satan, the beast, and the false prophet, in that final battle of Armageddon that will very soon be taking place. But first these unfortunate people are going to go through suffering that they can't even imagine. The wrath of God, in the form of 7 bowls or vials, will soon descend down on all those who are still on the earth. (Please keep in mind that the saints of Christ will not be on this earth according to verses like 1 Thessalonians 1:10 "And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come".
2---The dead who died all through history without being saved and were not raised from the dead at the rapture, will remain in the ground for the next 1,000 years. They will rise from the dead at the end of the millennium, to be judged at the great white throne judgment. All those who are killed during the upcoming Wrath of God and the battle of Armageddon will also remain dead and in the ground for the next 1,000 years).
Revelation 15: 1 "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for they are filled with the wrath of God".
The wrath of God is God's anger toward sin and towards those unrepentant sinners who live in sin. The wrath of God is going to be directed at all those who have spent their lives living in filth and ungodliness, who have promoted the vile and evil, those who have gone out of their way to thumb their noses at God, and those who have persecuted and killed the saints of God. The wrath of God is going to be directed at the Christ haters and the Christ rejecters.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The terrible Wrath of God has arrived. However, the Wrath of God is not part of the tribulation. It occurs after the tribulation and after the rapture, the resurrection of the saints, and after the second coming of Christ that is talked about in verses like 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17, but the wrath of God takes place before the battle of Armageddon.
There are many verses in the Bible that tell the believer that Jesus will indeed save him from the Wrath of God. That the believer will be taken safely away from it, and protected from it. And this is because all believers would have been taken up to a waiting Jesus just before this terrible wrath begins. So please keep in mind that these verses are not talking about the tribulation, but rather they are describing the terrible anger, or the Wrath of God, that is poured out after the great tribulation is over.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 "And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come".
Romans 5:9 "Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, we shall be saved through him from the wrath of God."
So once the saved believers are all taken off the earth, then the only ones left will be the Christ haters and the Christ rejecters. The only ones left will be the unsaved, and the pouring out of the wrath of God begins at Revelation 16:1.
For centuries, the world has scoffingly cried, Where is the promise of his coming? Now the mocking abruptly ceases. Now that God's elect have been safely taken off the earth, it is time for Jesus Christ to deal with all those ungodly people who still remain on the earth. For now is the time that Ezekiel 38:22 be fulfilled. "And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone".
So between the rapture and the time that Jesus comes back to fight the battle of Armageddon, some very horrible things happen to the ungodly and evil people left on earth. The Bible speaks of this as the "Wrath of God". And this wrath of God is described as consisting of bowls or vials that are poured down on the earth. There are seven of them and they are going to be poured down on the ungodly only after the tribulation is over, and the saved children of God have been taken off the earth. The Wrath of God is pure punishment. A white hot passion, burning with a terrible blistering rage. It is the awesome and crushing anger of God being smashed down on those ungodly people still on this earth. And the target of this horrible wrath of God is the Antichrist and all of his ungodly followers that have survived the tribulation. Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness, and of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth".
How bad will the Wrath of God be? Let the following four examples give you some idea what the earth and the followers of satan can expect.
Isaiah 13:9-10 says, "Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible".
Daniel 8 26-27 describes the time that the prophet Daniel was shown a vision of the future coming wrath of God and how seeing that future event, how utterly devastated he was by it. "The vision that has been shown to you about these evenings and mornings is true. But seal up the vision, because those things won't happen for a long time." So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king's business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it."
Revelation 14:9-10 tells us more about this great wrath of God. "And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb".
Isaiah 24:3-5 "The earth will be completely laid waste and stripped because the Lord has commanded it. The earth dries up and dies. The world withers and wastes away. The great leaders of the earth waste away. The earth is polluted by those who live on it because they've disobeyed the Lord's teachings, violated his laws, and rejected his everlasting promise".
The wrath of God is going to be utterly terrible. All the saints would have been taken off the earth right before the Wrath of God takes place and it tells us this at Daniel 12:1, "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued".
So no child of God's will experience this terrible wrath of God, because the wrath of God is aimed at sin and to those unrepentant sinners who practice sin, and to all those who rejected the Son of God. The following verse tells us exactly who can expect to receive the wrath of God.
John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son of God shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
This wrath of God is a time so terrible that the Bible says men will "seek death but be unable to find it". The book of Revelation tells us that the kings of the earth and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every free man, will hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and plead to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath has come".
Can you just imagine all those high and mighty big shots, all those pompous and haughty world leaders who have elevated themselves above all others, all those in power who have done nothing but line their own pockets, and all those who have spent their entire lives amassing and hoarding their own false idols, and all of them trying to hide behind and under rocks. This will be the time when verses like Psalms 110:5 are going to be fulfilled.
Psalms 110:5 "He shall crush kings in the day of His wrath."
You have to ask yourself where is their cry for mercy? Where is their pleading for help or their requests for forgiveness? Where is their begging for rescue? Why don't they say anything about confession or repentance of their sins? They do none of these because those that are left are hard-core unrepentant sinners. Sinners whose hearts are completely closed to God and Godly things. Their sinful characters are fixed, and they would much rather go out of existence still fighting and cursing God. These are the ones who are about to experience the horrible wrath of God.
Just how long it's going to take to empty out the seven bowls and complete the wrath of God is not mentioned in the Bible, nor is how many lives going to be lost. But it will take a great many lives since it is going to be the worst time ever on the face of the earth. Revelation 16:1 says this about the seven bowls. "And I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God down onto the earth."
These 7 bowls that occur just before the great battle of Armageddon are indeed terrible, so lets look at exactly what each of these bowls will be doing to the ungodly still left on this earth. Also please keep in mind Revelation 15:7, because that verse tells us exactly what is in those seven bowls. "Then 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.
The Seven Bowls ---- This is the wrath of God. (Starts at Revelation 16:1)
The First Bowl--Is poured out upon the earth and sores and ulcers come upon those who have the mark of the beast and on all who follow the beast. (This first vial of wrath is a terrible plague on everyone who has chosen satan over Jesus).(Rev 16:2)
The Second Bowl--Is poured out into the sea and the sea turns to blood. A disaster like this will deprive man of an important food source, promote famine, cause pestilence because of the decomposing marine animals, force people to move away from the contaminated coastlines, and render shipping virtually impossible. (Rev 16:3)
The Third Bowl--Is poured into the rivers and bodies of water and they also turn to blood and are undrinkable. Now all the drinking water is completely polluted and unusable and every living creature that was in the water died. God in his anger is eliminating what is left of any water for drinking and without this precious substance it will only be a matter of time before millions of people will simply die due to thirst and dehydration. An angel proclaims that the Lords judgments are righteous and true and since the ungodly have shed the blood of the saints and of the prophets, therefore they now in turn are repaid with only blood to drink. This third vial is punishment specifically for shedding the blood of the saints.(Rev 16:4)
The Fourth Bowl--Is poured out upon the sun and the heat from the sun greatly increases and gets so hot that it scorches mankind. Now the sun is not only unbearably hot but there is also no water to drink. (Rev 16:8) There are a number of verses in the Bible that describe this end time prophecy. One good example is Isaiah 30:26 "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."
The Fifth Bowl--The fifth angel pours out his bowl upon the world empire of the beast and a great darkness covers the kingdom of the antichrist. It is also stated that the men on the earth will gnaw their tongues because of the pain. It's not clear what part of this fifth bowl judgment has caused this pain. It very well could have been from the previous plagues, but it is more likely that God has intensified their sores from the first bowl judgment. Either way their pain is very, very severe. (Rev 16:10)
The Sixth Bowl--"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared". Drying up the mighty Euphrates River is symbolic to the tearing down of all obstacles that stand in the way of great ungodly armies on their world wide sweep of death and destruction.
The nations of the world are deceived by satan and join him, the beast, and the false prophet. The armies of these nations will attempt to destroy everything and anyone that is precious to God, particularly anyone who has found Jesus Christ since the saints have been taken off the earth, and who now look to God for help. These armies make up the forefront of a Christ hating, anti-God crusade by ungodly nations. (Rev 16:12) Something else happens after this sixth bowl is poured out. The armies of satan begin to assemble for the battle of Armageddon. Revelation 16:16, "And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon".
The Seventh Bowl--Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent (about 120 lbs). Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great. It appears that a great deal of death and suffering occurs during this seventh seal.
Some of the other horrible things that happen once this seventh bowl is poured out are: all the cities of the world are destroyed(Rev 16:19), all the islands in the oceans are sunk(Rev 16:20), and all mountains everywhere in the world are leveled(Rev 16:20).
After this seventh bowl is poured down on the earth loud voices in Heaven announce the end of the reign of men on the earth. Jesus is now the new ruler over all the earth. "Then a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" (Rev 16:17)
It is interesting to wonder whether many during the period of these 7 bowels will renounce satan and finally ask Jesus for forgiveness and mercy. Probably many will, but then many won't, because they have already sold their souls to Satan by pledging allegiance to the anti-Christ and accepting his number. Their hearts will be totally hardened and they will blaspheme God because of what the bowls have brought. Most will be past the point where they can be convicted of their sins as they will already have fallen under the power and delusion of the lies of Satan.
There are a great many examples of this in the Bible. One of the best is Pharaoh's refusal to allow the Nation of Israel to leave their captivity in Egypt. Pharaoh refused to concede that God was Sovereign, even after God horribly decimated Egypt with ten terrible plagues. And Pharaoh went to his death in the middle of the Red Sea because of his defiant and ungodly stubbornness. Pharaoh's experience proves that rebellion can be so complete within a person's heart that he or she will never ever submit to God.
So with the anger of God having been poured down upon the ungodly in the form of the seven bowls, it is time for the battle of Armageddon to take place.
Revelation 16:16, "And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon".
And so the great battle of Armageddon begins. But before this battle begins, a warning is given.
Revelation 19:17-18, says that right before the battle of Armageddon, an angel gives a terrible warning to all those getting ready to fight Christ at this battle. "The angel stands in the sun and cries with a loud voice to the birds that fly in the midst of heaven; come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great".
Now to answer the questions of just who will be at this battle, and who will be doing the fighting against satan and his followers?
Revelation 19:5 says, "The Lord will come, and all the saints with Him". These saints are the saved children of God who were raptured up to Jesus after the tribulation was all over, but before the wrath of God was poured down on the evil that still existed on the earth. And alongside of Jesus and the saints will be all the angels in heaven. But neither the angels nor the saints are going to be doing any fighting. They are simply going to be spectators at this last battle.
Revelation 19:11-14 "And I saw heaven open; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many crowns; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses".
Something that should be noted is at the very end of the tribulation, when the Lord comes back for his saved believers, he doesn't actually come back to earth. He wasn't physically standing on the earth because at that time he stayed up in the clouds, in the heavens. However this time, at the battle of Armageddon, he will be physically standing on the earth. And we are going to be right along side of Christ as he fights this battle of Armageddon and we are going to join with him when he sets up His kingdom here on earth. As far as the battle itself, we will not be doing any of the fighting. Only Jesus will fight. But the saved saints, along with all the angels, will be with Christ as he alone fights this last final battle.
The battle of Armageddon may be one of the shortest battles to ever take place. It may be completely over before it even gets a chance to start. The Bible in many places talks about the tremendous and awesome power that the mouth of the Lord contains, in fact it is interesting to see that the tongue of Jesus is described frequently in the Bible as a "two edged sword". Revelation 1:16 for example says, "And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength".
Another example of the tongue of the Lord being like a two edged sword can be found at Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
This two edged sword that proceeds out of the mouth of the Son of God has the ability to cut both ways. To annihilate and destroy both the physical body as well as the spiritual body, and to send them both into eternal oblivion.
So the Lord's Words are extremely powerful, and they frequently smite men in their consciences and their lives. This is exactly what happened to the officers of the chief priests and Pharisees when they came to the Garden of Gethsemane seeking Jesus. As soon as he had said to them, I AM HE, they went backward, and fell to the ground (John 18:6).
It is also interesting to note that in the very first chapter of Genesis we are told that Jesus "spoke" creation into existence, and therefore he may very well "speak" all evil out of existence in the exact same way.
So his very words may well be the weapon that he uses in his fight against the followers of satan, the beast, and the false prophet. Since the tongue of Jesus is described as a "two edged sword", this makes me wonder if Jesus is going to defeat all these people simply by saying two very powerful words, "Drop dead". And thus, the final battle may be over rather quickly. Revelation 19:21 tells us about the end of these followers of satan. "And there followers were slain with the sword by Him that sat upon the white horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the birds of the air were filled with their flesh".
Isaiah 11:4 "He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked."
The entire fourteenth chapter of Zechariah deals with very explicit descriptions of the battle of Armageddon. A few examples are:
Zechariah 14:2-5, "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as in the day of his warring, in the day when the Lord comes. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. And Jehovah my God will certainly come, all the holy ones being with him".
Zechariah 14:12, "Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth".
Also, sometime during the battle of Armageddon the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 19:19-20 says, "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and they that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with fire and brimstone".
So the beast and the false prophet have been thrown into the lake of fire and all of the followers of satan have been destroyed in the battle of Armageddon. And now that the battle is over it is time to deal with satan himself. A mighty angel grabs hold of satan, throws him into a pit, and seals it. And this is where satan will stay for the next 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:1-3, Tells us about satan being bound for the thousand years. "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and having a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season."
So the great slaughter of the armies and followers of the Antichrist would have taken place in and around the valley of Megiddo near Haifa in Israel. It will mark the end of man's cruel rule on earth, as Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and His Heavenly forces take over the World to rule and reign and run it the way it should have been run if man had not disobeyed God and gone his own selfish way!
And so the great battle of Armageddon is over. All the ungodly, every single one of them who followed satan, the beast, and the false prophet are laying dead upon the surface of the earth. There bodies being offered up as a great feast for the fowl of the earth. And as the birds feast, the 1,000 year millennium begins.
The beast, and false prophet and all their followers have been destroyed and are out of the picture. Satan has been imprisoned in a pit. So what happens next. What happens over the next 1,000 years?
A very good question and it is one that I wish I knew much more about. The Bible tells us absolutely nothing about what is going to happen during those 1,000 years. In fact do you realize that the Bible goes from telling us in Revelation 20:1-6, that satan is thrown into the pit for 1,000 years and that the saints are going to rule and reign with Christ for those 1,000 years and in the very next verse, in Revelation 20:7, it tells us about satan being released after the 1,000 years is over. It completely skips over and says nothing about what is going to happen during those 1,000 years.
However, the Bible does tell us a number of other very interesting things that does help to shine some light on what is going to happen during those 1,000 years.
First of all we know that Christ sits on the throne of David and we the saints, who were given new and improved and very spiritual bodies, are ruling and reigning with Him on this earth for those 1,000 years. Maybe the saints will help fix and heal the earth and restore it back to a Godly condition. Maybe there are going to be vast educational programs that teach the saints much more about God, about ourselves and about the universe. But it also tells us at Revelation 20:4 and Revelation 20:6, that we the saints will rule and reign with Christ, and that indicates there are going to be people, mortal people, right here on earth. In fact there may very well be a great many people who survive the tribulation, the wrath of God, and the battle of Armageddon and who make it into the millennium where they actually live, have children and then die, and then are raised up at the end of the millennium.
Here are three verses that may indicate that there are a great many people who live here on earth during the millennium.
1---Revelation 20:3 "And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while".
Doesn't the phrase "so that he should deceive the nations no more" sound like maybe there are going to be people on this earth during the 1,000 years, and that if satan were free to roam around there would be a good chance of him deceiving many of them?
2---Revelation 20:7-8 "And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore".
Doesn't the phrase, "and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth" seem to indicate that the earth is heavily populated at the end of the 1,000 years?
3---Revelation 20:4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years".
Don't you think that there must be something to reign over if the saints are going to be reigning with Christ for a thousand years? Why would you want to "reign" over a dead earth with no life on it? Can you reign over rocks and dirt and if so, what would be the purpose?
So who might these mortal people be that are alive and enter into the millennium, and where did they come from? These people and their offspring will probably originate from the following:
1) The Jews that escaped from Israel during the tribulation and survived the wrath of God and the battle of Armageddon.
There are a great many verses that tell us that a great many Jews will survive the latter day tribulations. Isaiah tells us about how Jewish survivors from all over the world will survive. (Keep in mind that the Jews still do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God).
Isaiah 56:8 "The Sovereign Lord declares, he who gathers the exiles of Israel: I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."
Romans 11:26 also tells us that Israel is going to somehow be saved. "And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, Out of Zion will come the Deliverer; he will banish ungodliness from Jacob."
Isaiah 4:3 also tells us that many Jews will survive during the latter days. "And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem."
And there is another very interesting verse that tells about how in the end times many Jews come to Christ. It is in Hosea 3:5 "Afterward the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days".
2) The people that did not worship the beast or receive his mark during the tribulation.
The following verses tell us that not everyone is going to accept the mark of the beast, and that not all the people on the earth are going to worship the beast. (Notice how the highlighted and underline words in the next 3 verses below do not indicate everyone.)
Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
Revelation 16:2 And the first angel went and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore upon the men who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.
Revelation 19:20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
3) The people who did not participate on the side of satan in the battle of Armageddon.
Isaiah tells us that during the battle of Armageddon many will be slain but not all; that there will be survivors. Isaiah 66:15-16 "For behold, the Lord will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. For the Lord will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the Lord will be many".
4) The people who came to Christ after the rapture of the saints takes place.
Many people will come to the Lord after the saints are raptured. These will be the people who even though they missed the rapture finally wake up and realize just who satan really is, and finally open their hearts to the Lord. Isaiah 56:6 "And foreigners who brind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him".
5) Those that never knew Jesus and who for one reason or another have never placed their faith and trust in him, but who still lead Godly lives.
Not all non-Christians lead lives filled with chasing after worldly pleasures. Many people all over the world that don't know Christ still lead lives that Christ is proud of. You have to wonder whether these people will be allowed to walk into the millennium after Jesus searches their hearts?
6) And anyone else who made it through the tribulation, the wrath of God, and Armageddon and made it into the millennium.
If this isn't true than what is the purpose of the 1,000 year millennium? Only God knows why these people were able to survive those horrible periods, but since they did, they are all going to need to be educated about God. They will need guidance and instruction about Our Lord, much as you did when you first found the Lord?
Also keep in mind that these survivors were never given immortal bodies so one must remember that procreation still takes place during this 1,000 year millennium period because those who survived the Tribulation, the wrath of God, and the battle of Armageddon, enter the Millennium with human, earthly bodies. The believers who were raptured earlier possess resurrected bodies and do not bear children, but the others do. Consequently, the children born during this one-thousand-year period are born with the old Adamic, or sin nature which has been an inherent part of man ever since the fall of Adam and Eve. Most of them of course accept Christ as their personal Saviour, but some probably do not! In addition, since Satan is bound, there is little to tempt any of these people. They simply do not face the problems and trials which have confronted mankind in past ages. Satan's release at the end of the millennium is to determine whether or not Christ is real to these children of the Millennium, or whether they have been submissive simply because Jesus has been in control during this 1,000 year period.
These people have long life spans and will live well over 100 years, so you can imagine how quickly the offspring of these mortal people will grow. Isaiah gives more detail about the human conditions of these still mortal people that are living in the millennium. Isaiah 65:19-20 "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; but he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; and he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed".
Therefore, there will be persons with mortal bodies and persons with spiritual bodies existing on earth at the same time during the 1,000 year millennium. The saints having the spiritual bodies, will be teaching the people with mortal bodies all about God.
So it just might be the wonderful responsibility of the saved believers that were raptured back at the end of the tribulation to teach these people and all their descendents about God, so hopefully they too become saved believers. Maybe that is one of the things that Jesus meant when he spoke the following verse.
John 10:16 "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock and one Shepherd."
Think for a moment about the only way that a person can be saved and obtain eternal life. And the only way for that to be done is by coming to Jesus Christ. Now think of all the people who never even heard of Jesus Christ or were prevented from hearing about him. Would God keep eternal life from a person because, through no fault of their own, they had no idea who Jesus was? Never heard of Almighty God or the Bible or Christianity? Who maybe lived thousands of years before Christ, or lived in an area that never heard of Jesus Christ? Look at just these 10 short verses regarding salvation and as you read them think for a moment about how they describe the one and only way to eternal life, and then think about all those people who never even heard of Jesus.
1 John 5:11-12----And this is the record given. That God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life. He that does not have the Son of God does not have life".
John 14:6--- "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 3:16--- "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life."
John 6:40--- "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Hebrews 7:25--- Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him.
John 3:36--- "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him".
John 10:9--- "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved".
John 11:25--- "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live".
John 6:47--- "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life".
Acts 4:12--- "There is no salvation in anyone else".
The whole point of these verses is to show that eternal life is granted only to those who have come to the true God of creation through a unique relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Through that understanding and that relationship, they come to understand who the true God is and what he requires of humans who wish to enter his everlasting kingdom.
But what about the billions of people down through the ages who never even knew about Jesus Christ. What about all those who never heard the Gospel of Christ or had an opportunity to learn the truth of God's Word. Those never having the chance to accept the real Jesus Christ of the Bible. I would think that Our Lord would want these countless individuals to finally have a real opportunity to be judged on what they do after they know the truth of God.
Think of the many Jews who were taught never to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah by their Rabbi and their parents. Think of the untold billions of Buddhists, Shintoists, Muslims, and members of all the other non Christian religions who were prevented from hearing about Jesus Christ and who never ever gave Jesus Christ a second thought. In fact the overwhelming majority of human beings have never believed in any form of Christianity. The vast majority of humans are, and always have been, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, atheists or agnostics.
What about those untold billions living in places like China, India, Japan, and Indonesia. Places where the name of Jesus Christ was completely unknown. And what about the untold millions whose leaders prevented them from even hearing about Jesus Christ and who spent great amounts of time and energy in preventing anything about Jesus to be known. And there will be all those many people who just never took the time to learn about Jesus.
Christians are taught that all true Christians are engaged in a sort of "soul saving" mission. And it is implied that if people do not "get saved" in this present lifetime then they are "lost" forever. Yet the vast majority of people who have lived on earth have never converted to any form of Christianity. Were they all in direct rebellion against God? Are they all doomed forever? Will there be a time, maybe sometime during the millennium, when he calls these people and opens their minds and hearts and finally allows them to see the real truth? Is there not a tremendous difference between not knowing God, and the out right rejection of God?
The Bible talks a great deal about spiritual blindness; blindness many times caused by God himself. What is the meaning of so many verses like:
Romans 11:8, "Just as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not, and ears to hear not, Down to this very day."
Isaiah 29:10 "For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely the visionaries".
Matthew 11:25 "Then Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding the truth from those who think themselves so wise and clever, and for revealing it to the childlike."
2 Peter 2:21 "For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to know it and turn from the holy commandment delivered to them."
John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father, who sent Me, draws him."
But the amazing thing is that all through the Bible God is telling us that it is "his will that all men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:4
Doesn't that seem to indicate that God may very possibly have a plan to bring those who never knew him and never heard of him, to the true knowledge of who God is and what God expects of each man? To finally give them the same opportunity that all other Christians have had?
Is it possible to lead a Godly and morally righteous life if a man has no knowledge of Jesus Christ or the Bible? In other words does man know that it is wrong to steal, murder, lie, and hurt others? Certainly the knowledge between right and wrong has been placed within the heart of each person, for that is why we have so many human emotions such as guilt and shame. So a person can lead a Godly lifestyle and still never have heard of Christianity. So maybe these people will be some of the ones that find themselves in the millennium, being taught for the very first time about Jesus Christ.
Might it be possible that God is going to use the 1,000 year millennium to bring back, not the evil and wicked, but those who led lives that were approving to God. Those who even though they never heard of Jesus Christ, still lead righteous and Godly lives. Could this be the reason for so many verses in the Bible like the two listed below?
Romans 2:13-15 "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God's sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them."
Acts 10:35 "But in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is accepted by Him."
It is clear that God is not trying to save everyone now. If he were, then he would some how save us all. Rather ever since that very first sin in the Garden of Eden, God has allowed humanity to go its own way for the last 6,000 years of human history, and he has allowed the evil from satan the devil to influence the people on this earth. God intervenes occasionally, when he wishes to, in order to bring about his major purposes in the rise and fall of nations and kingdoms. He also intervenes to call a great number of individuals to become part of his Church and to prepare them to become future kings, priests, and teachers under Christ in the coming kingdom of God on earth.
The real problem for most believers is that since we are on a soul saving mission, we think that all those who are not saved while on earth are doomed. If you ask people if the Muslim, or the person who lived in the heart of China 2200 years ago, or the poor African who has no idea what a church is, are saved, you will find that just about every single person you ask will say that those people are lost. That there is no hope for them.
So what's the answer? Well, the answer may very well be that you and I will become teachers during that 1,000 year millennium. The immortal teaching the mortal. Thus the saved children of God who were resurrected and raptured back before the start of the millennium, may very well have the responsibility of bringing a great many people to Jesus Christ. People who never knew him or never had the chance to know him in their past lives.
This won't be a second chance for them, but
instead is going to be a genuine first opportunity. A first glorious opportunity
for us to open their eyes and ears. This could very possibly be the reason for the
1,000 year millennium. It could very well be 1,000 years of being in a
beautiful classroom. The saved believers might very well be ruling and
reigning over those people as teachers, not as guards or policemen.
Ruling and reigning over them as helpers and instructors, not as rulers
expecting to be bowed down to, catered to, and waited on. The saved believers may just have an absolutely incredible opportunity to bring a great many souls to Christ. The
entire Bible is a teaching tool containing the very words of God, and it is not going to stop being taught at the start
of the millennium. The word of God is not only going to continue down through all of eternity, but it will also be of tremendous importance all through the millennium, as the following two verses show.
Mark 13:31 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away".
John 12:48 "The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge".
So it is conceivable that during the millennium these people from all the past ages are brought back to life, and for the very first time they have their eyes opened. The veil which had been over their eyes during their earthly lifetimes is now removed. Old prejudices and old falsehoods will finally be gone. They at last have the books of the Bible available to them. And with the saints of God acting as teachers, as helpers, as assistants, these people will have their very first opportunity to be taught the Word of God. What an unbelievable responsibility the saints of God will have. And what a truly incredible opportunity for all those who died in the past without knowing Jesus Christ will have. Maybe those people are included in verses like the following. John 10:16 "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd".
Now, at last, these people will have their first genuine opportunity to know God. At last an opportunity for so many to learn, grow, understand, and be tried and tested as to their willingness to live life God's way. Then they will be allowed to make the decision to repent and accept the true Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or since they are still mortal and they still have their free will, maybe they will just go their own way and do their own thing. Then to, maybe many will decide to join up with the newly released satan and become one of his followers.
But again this isn't a second chance for these people. For these people it will be the first real chance, their first genuine opportunity to know the Lord. And again the saved Saints that were raptured back at the end of the tribulation, who are ruling and reigning with Christ as teachers and helpers, are going to have the wonderful and awesome opportunity to teach these people about God.
It is interesting but Revelation chapter 5, takes place in heaven and begins by the Apostle John describing the events surrounding a scroll that no one seems to be capable of opening. This scroll is sealed by the 7 seals and signifies that the end times, the tribulation, and the judgment of man cannot begin until these seven seals are unsealed. Finally Jesus comes forward and it is shown that only he can unseal the scroll. At this point there is much singing in heaven and a most extraordinary song is sung. The incredible words that are in this song can be found in Revelation 5:9. "They sing a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered, and by the blood of your death you redeemed us for God, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation".
Something else very unusual happens at the end of the 1,000 years, and it is satan being let out of the pit that he has been kept in for the last 1,000 years. Finally, he has freedom and he also has something else. One thousand years of hate and anger aimed directly at Jesus and his saints; a hate that is totally consuming him. So what he does next is really not unexpected. He immediately goes out and tries to recruit as many followers as possible, using any and all means that he can think of.
Unfortunately millions follow satan. Yes, even after living with the Lord Jesus Christ and all the saints for ten centuries, much of mortal mankind rebels. One simply cannot fathom the hardness of the human heart. Even after these individuals have lived, walked, and talked with Jesus for 1,000 years, they forsake the Saviour for Satan. No wonder the prophet Jeremiah said, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9.
Revelation 20:8-9 tells us that Satan deceives the nations internationally (pictured
by the four corners of the earth), and gathers them together for one last
Revelation 20:8-9 "And will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city".
This army following satan is gigantic in number...as the sand of the sea. Once again the camp of God's people—the beloved city of Jerusalem—is surrounded, just as the armies of Armageddon gathered against Jerusalem to do battle.
How is it possible that so many can join up with satan at the end of the millennium?
Despite the direct rule of God over man during the thousand year reign of Christ, mortal man is still readily deceived into Satan's ways as soon as Satan is allowed another chance at man. So despite the overwhelming evidence that every good human desires to lead a Godly life, man will still choose to grab at Satan's offer of self-rule. This truth about human nature is what was probably signified by Jesus in His parable of Lazarus and the rich man: "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead" (Luke 16:31).
Man is so willingly blinded to the truth that he will not respond even to absolute proof from God Himself, a proof extending over one thousand years. Contrary to popular belief, faith is not unlocked by proof, but by conviction of sin and repentance. The miraculous signs of God only act to "push over the edge" those who willing turn their backs to the world and satan, and repent.
But unfortunately for satan and for those people that he talks into following him, the battle that he is hoping for will never take place. These new followers of satan never realize that God himself is watching and examining every nook and cranny of their hearts, minds, and souls. Hebrews 4:13 "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to his eyes."
Our Lord can tell exactly what each is thinking and feeling and these followers of satan never realize that their very thoughts are signing their own eternal death warrants. God gave us another little taste of this ability that he has back in Jeremiah 17:10 when he said, "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds".
Also the Bible gives us a little preview of what is going to happen to these followers of satan. Nahum 1:6 tells us, "Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, And the rocks are thrown down by Him".
What happens at this battle that never really takes place, is told to us at Revelation 20:7-9 and it tells a story of extremely swift judgment and even swifter punishment. "And when the thousand years are expired Satan shall be loosed from his prison and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather together to battle. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."
In an instant, with absolutely no warning at all, the very last traces of ungodliness are once and for all completely destroyed. Psalms 11:6 has finally been fulfilled. "Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup."
But what of satan? What finally happens to this fallen angel who has done nothing but bring pain, suffering, and misery to the human race. After spending the last 1,000 years locked up in a pit, he has had to watch as every one of his followers is completely destroyed by the fire storm that descends down from heaven. And even this king of death and misery is shocked as he stands there and gazes at the incredible carnage that surrounds him. Suddenly satan finds himself standing all alone in a sea of dead. His followers and all his friends are completely gone.
And as he gazes in shock at the incredible amount of death and destruction that lays all around him, he begins to feel extremely powerful hands on his shoulders and he is suddenly engulfed in utter terror and great sadness, because one particular verse in the Bible explodes into his mind. It is Revelation 20:10, and it says, "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever".
Many followed satan and were eternally destroyed, but many refused to follow him. Many who were taught by the saints of God, wanted to follow only Jesus. Now that they knew about Jesus they realize that they never ever want to lose him. And thus, those were the ones not destroyed, but instead turned and walked joyfully into the White Throne of Judgment.
What a solemn scene it will be when the soul is joined with the body, and all of mankind comes face to face with Jesus Christ for a very complete investigation of their relationship with the Son of God. Every transgressor is present. Presidents and paupers, high society snobs and skid row derelicts. Every Christ-rejecter and Christ hater from all ages of human history. Small and great, rich and poor, free and bond. Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).
No one can hide from God. Furthermore, no mistakes will be made, for the dead will be judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Every unbeliever will be present, for the bodies come forth from land and sea and are joined once again with their souls. Then, body, soul, and spirit are reunited to stand before God.
As the books are opened, God is going to enable all minds to remember all sin.
Romans 14:12 says, "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God."
Each and every sin, ever committed, will be crystal clear just as if it was committed only seconds ago. There will be no doubt in anyone's mind whether or not a certain sin was ever committed.
How is all this possible? It is possible because God is omniscient (all knowing). God knows everything about every member of the human race. And God has given us hundreds of verses in the Bible that tells us that he has this incredible ability.
0 Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.(Psalms 139:1)
I God, know the things that come into your mind, every one of them. (Ezekiel 11:5)
I know when you have eyes full of adultery, that cannot cease from sin. (2 Peter 2:14)
I the Lord search the heart. (Jeremiah 17:10)
The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth. (2 Chronicles16:9)
All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him. (Hebrews 4:13)
I know when your tongue is about to curse. (Psalm 139:4)
That aborted fetus flushed into oblivion, that sex act in a parked car or motel room, that crooked deal for illegal gain, all those periods of drunkenness, those thefts, those lies told, the hate that seethed in the heart, the hurt and pain inflicted with glee upon another, all those filthy thoughts that brought such ungodly pleasure, all those uncaring feelings. Nothing remains hidden. Adultery, abortion, drunkenness, drug addiction, harlotry, hatred, lawlessness, murder, rebellion, sexual promiscuity, wife-swapping, and every other abominable practice is then exposed in detail—everything is indelibly inscribed in the journal of the Almighty bookkeeper.
This White Throne Judgement will be made up of those that died through out all of history and who were raised up at the end of the millennium. Hopefully, many of these people will be saved at the White Throne Judgment. But that decision is going to be entirely up to Jesus Christ, for on judgment day the one judging mankind will be Jesus Christ. He is the one who has been given complete and total control over the judging of every human being who has ever lived on earth.
John 5:22, "For the Father judges no one at all but he has committed all the judging to the Son".
Matthew 13:49-50, "And if anyone's name is not found written in the book of life, he is thrown into the lake of fire. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth". It will be at this time that both those in the lake of fire and those that are saved, will understand the meaning behind Hebrews 12:29 "For our God is a consuming fire".
I think the ones that will be headed for the lake of fire will be the ones who finally had a chance to receive Jesus, but did not. Those that finally knew who Jesus was, but refused to accept or follow him. Those who finally understood what Jesus was trying to do, but who flat out refused to have anything to do with the Son of God. Those are the ones who will not see eternity.
So now the question is, what are we going to be doing for all eternity? Well nobody really knows the answer to that because the Bible doesn't come out and tell us. However there are a number of very tantalizing verses in the Bible about the eternity and about the wonder and the mystery it contains. Read the verse below and just think for a few moments about what that could possibly include.
1 Corinthians 2:9, "The eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, nor has there even been conceived in the mind of man the things that God has prepared for those that love him."
Just looking at the creation that we find ourselves in, can you even begin to imagine the unbelievable surprises that God must have waiting for us? Things so incredible and so awesome that the human mind is incapable of even thinking them up. So even though we don't know what eternity will bring, we can be sure that if it's from our all loving Father, it is going to be absolutely incredible.
Life in eternity will not be merely a life of rest and singing, but rather a life of productivity and learning. In fact each of us will have the powers and ability to accomplish the most incredible feats of learning and accomplishment. The most awesome mysteries in the universe will fall like match sticks. Problems thought unsolvable will be solved with no difficulty. Each one of us will grow and advance in ways that we can't even begin to imagine. You will be able to become one of the world's most renown painters. You will be able to write books that are masterpieces. You will become an absolutely awesome explorer as you travel into regions of the universe and discover and understand the most incredible mysteries of God. Think of the inventions that you will invent, the building projects that you will accomplish, the unimaginable tasks that you will perform throughout the entire universe. Ponder for a moment on the incredible and unbelievable surprises that Our Loving Father might just have waiting for us.
Every believer will also have the abundant time to meet and know every other believer. What a thrill it will be to listen to Noah describe his experiences on the ark, to share the passion and vision of John the Baptist, to hear the testimonies of the martyrs. Each of us will have his own story to tell, his own defeats and victories, his own weaknesses and failures, his own personal overcoming through faith, and each of us can describe that wonderful day when we finally came to the Lord. It will indeed be a very close knit family, one that will include every single saint. No one will be left out, because we will all be as one with the Father.
Eternity will before us, and infinity will surround us. We shall have an eternity of time to explore and discover the secrets of an infinitely varied and limitless cosmos. Perhaps you and your best friend will be assigned an entire galaxy to explore and develop for the glory of God. Then you will share with the others what you have found and what you have accomplished and all will rejoice together. Why not, we have all eternity.
That is probably one reason why God created the universe so immense that the human mind can't even comprehend its size. Because he knew when he created it that some day his children were going to have all of eternity to explore it. Only then may we even begin to truly understand and appreciate verses like the following.
Psalms 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."
Matthew 24:47 "Truly I tell you, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns."
That may also be one of the reasons why God instilled into each one of us the urge to explore and discover, to seek and search. Why we have such an incredible urge to create and invent things, and then constantly improve them and make them even better. For we will have the rest of eternity to turn this entire universe into a something that our Heavenly Father will be most proud of. It is interesting, but the Bible tells us frequently that this universe and everything in it was made for man. Psalms 8:6 "You have made man to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet".
It is also interesting to note that the entire first chapter of Genesis deals with all kinds of things being created by the Great Creator. We are told in Genesis 1:27 that when man was created, he was made like God. We were created in his image and in his likeness. Do you realize that God therefore had to give mankind the ability to create anything that man could think up? Anything that man could desire was available to him? Not only the ability to create life, but the ability to create anything we can think of. If God created us to be like he is, then he had to give us his extraordinary creative power.
Man had the ability to create automobiles, airplanes, and microwave ovens back in the 4th century. The reason man didn't create these things was because he hadn't created the technology yet. But those incredible creative powers lived within mankind. Likewise, when the start of God's kingdom on earth begins, saved mankind will suddenly find that he is in possession of awesome and incredible creative powers. The same creative powers that the Great Creator has.
So we will be able to develop and use more fully the particular talents entrusted to us by the Lord. We will have the opportunity to improve and sharpen those skills and many others beyond our wildest imagination. Obviously the nature of our future service for the Lord can only be the object of reverent wonder and speculation now, but we can be sure it will be joyful and satisfying service, whatever it is.
Think of it. It will be an existence that is in perfect harmony. Not a single thing in the entire universe will be in rivalry or strife, in dissension or discord, in conflict or competition with any other thing. Nothing will function at the expense of something else. With our perfect bodies things like cosmic radiation, heat and cold, pain, and bacteria will be unable to harm or hurt us. We will be able to have a picnic on the surface of a sun a thousand times larger than our own, and have a wonderful and rewarding time. We will be unable to feel depression, sorrow, anxiety, or anger. In fact at the end of the Bible God makes us a most remarkable and wonderful promise.
Revelation 21:4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
God's very presence will keep all things in this condition of absolute harmony. It will be a completely nonviolent world. All creatures will eat vegetation instead of each other and there will be no fear among any creature. In fact communication between man and the creatures will undoubtedly be of a much higher order than we experience now. You will remember that Eve, before that first sin, did not register any surprise when the serpent communicated with her. So somehow, we will be able to communicate with every single thing that exists.
Space travel will be commonplace in that day, even though it will always be impossible in any significant degree in this present world. The nearest star is four light years from the earth and the idea that people could travel from the earth to a star in a space ship operating under the laws of the physical universe is simply a delusion. With the force systems of the known universe this idea will always be mere science fiction.
But these limitations will not apply to our spiritual bodies. They will not be constrained by gravitational or electromagnetic f orces but as in the case of angels, can "fly swiftly" (Daniel 9:21). Our spiritual bodies will be somehow like those of angels so that we, like they, can move--almost instantaneously across the cosmos. Thus, our future service for the Lord of Glory may well include assignments in many other parts of God's wonderful and vast universe.
It is so exciting to know that we will then have glorified spirit bodies that will not be subject to the physical laws of the universe as we know them now. We will be able to hurtle throughout the universe far faster than the speed of light, for we will be full members of the Creator's Family - the Family of God - able to move at the speed of thought.
Serving our Father and Jesus Christ in the perfect government of God, we will undoubtedly be challenged in ages to come to rejuvenate and beautify vast portions of the universe that are now bleak, lifeless and desolate. No doubt there will be all kinds of creative activities and exciting projects that we will contemplate all through out this universe. There may even be other universes, other realms, other dimensions, where Our Father will want us to use our talents and our skills.
But home will always be in the new Jerusalem, where Christ is. There also is where the mansions are, which He has prepared for us (John 14:2), and that is where we shall always return.
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