Sermon Transcript

Asheville June 2, 2011
Greensboro June 9, 2011
Hickory June 9, 2011

TRIBULATION, WITNESSES, HARVEST AND SIGNS

By Ron Kelley

In our previous sermons, we covered the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse.  We talked about deception, war, famine, pestilence and earthquakes.  We said all these were just the beginning of sorrows.   We showed how the love of many will grow cold and church members and family members will betray one another – even to death thinking they are doing God service.  Then we talked about the King of the South pushing at the King of the North.  We talked about the Abomination of Desolation and the two previous types including Antiochus Epiphanies who desecrated the Temple and slaughtered many Jews in 164BC.  We examined what the Mark of the Beast is, and we talked about the Place of Safety.

This brings us now to the actual beginning of the Great Tribulation.  Let’s begin today in

Matthew 24:

21   “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22    And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Why doesn’t this get our attention more?  Why do we seem to take this with what seems to be a “ho-hum” attitude?  “Oh yes, I’ve heard that a hundred times before.  What else have you got?”  Why doesn’t a statement like this frighten us?  Why doesn’t it MOTIVATE to action and zeal as never before? The reality of this statement should drive us to our knees and make us cry out to God for His mercy!  Do we really hear what this is saying?  A time is coming – just ahead of us!  World events seem to be spiraling out of control as never before!  We may be very near to a time of horror such as has NEVER been seen on this Earth before!  Have we not read history? Have we not read about horrible times of the past?  We talked in the first sermon about the great famines of China and India where millions of people starved to death!  We’ve talked about the staggering death toll during the Black Death or Bubonic Plague of the Middle Ages.  What about seeing the films of what it was like in the German concentration camps of WW2?  What about seeing the burning flesh of those who were victims of the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  We could go on and on!  There have been untold horrors in the past that would cause us to cry out in anguish and pain if we really saw what was going on.  But God says something is coming that is worse than all this.

The world will have NEVER seen anything like it.  It will be a time of unspeakable horror; a time of misery and destruction; a time of agony and pain on a scale we cannot imagine…and we put it out of our mind.  I don’t want to think about that.  Speak to me smooth words.  No, we cannot do that.  We all need to understand what is coming – and understand that it is coming soon.  How do we know it’s coming soon?

Luke 21:

29    “Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.

30    When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.

31    So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

32    Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.”

Perhaps that means the generation that has had God’s truth restored and preached as well as the generation that lives during the time when all the prophecies that must have been fulfilled in order for the last days to actually arrive.   For example – Israel exists as a nation; humanity has the capability of destroying all life on the planet; and all the revivals of the Roman Empire have happened – except one.  Everything is in place, and we are told to look at the fig tree.  The buds mean summer is near.  The analogy is that when we see all these prophesied things actually taking place – the end is near.  I hope we are not blind to all the things that have happened.  Any number of events could be the spark that sets final end time events into motion.  Just today as I was preparing this sermon there is new warnings that Al Qaida is about to unleash cyber-attacks on US targets.  What happens if our computers fail?  What happens if oil is cut off to the USA? What happens when Israel decides to attack Iran?  What’s going to happen in Syria now that we’ve had this massacre of dozens of little children?  What happens if the Euro really crashes and 4 or 5 nations default?  How will that affect the already weak American economy?  Do you see how close we are?  So many things can happen.  Summer is near.  Here is what we are saying today:  If summer is really that near – and if we believe the Word of God that says the coming tribulation is going to be a time more horrible than any other time in the past history of mankind, then how can we not have this warning at the front of our minds every day?

Luke 21:

34    “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

35    For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36    Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Do you hear what this is telling us?  We need to take this very serious, and we need to TAKE HEED.  What is it we need to take heed against? You know, most of us here in Church are not going to be weighed down with carousing and drunkenness, are we?  But we sure can get weighed down by the cares of this life!  Those cares of life were described in the previous verses:

Luke 17:

26    “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:

27    They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

28    Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

29    but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.

30    Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” 

This clearly tells us that normal, everyday life is going on all around us.  Our focus will NOT be on careful and watchful preparation because it just won’t seem like it’s the time!

Luke 12:

40    Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

What must we learn from this?  You can’t wait and put off getting your spiritual house in order until “things get close”!  You’re not going to see it coming!  It’s going to happen unexpectedly and suddenly.  What’s the solution?  Have your spiritual house in order today and keep it there!  Don’t ever forget “the time of the end” could come for any one of us – any day. But what is my point?  The point is we want to be ready spiritually all the time.  We should not need the closeness of the Great Tribulation to “scare” us into better spiritual behavior!  But if that’s what it takes, well USE that now to make some changes and finally actually grow spiritually stronger!  We should want to put God first in our lives all the time because we LOVE HIM!  We want to do all we can – to the best of our ability – to be judged worthy to stand before the Son of Man and escape all these things that are going to come to pass.  A TERRIBLE TIME IS COMING! We do NOT want to take that lightly and dismiss the coming Tribulation as just so much religious talk!  We don’t preach a “fear religion” – and none of us should obey God out of fear!  We should have grown to the point where we have an intense love and desire to serve and obey God from the heart and we have grown spiritually close to God.  This is where we need to be.  Our trust must be in God all the time.  But you see, if we are NOT there, we need to be.  We dare not ignore or dismiss the clear warning message that God has been and is so clearly giving to us! THIS IS COMING!

Jeremiah 30:

5    “For thus says the Lord: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace.

6    Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale?

7    Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.”

How many times do we have to read how horrible and terrifying these days ahead are going to be before it sinks in? As the scene opens up on the beginning of the 5th seal, the Great Tribulation, what do we see is the “beginning of sorrows”?  Do you remember what we talked about in the 4 Horsemen sermon?  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.   “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake”. A time of great “religious” persecution and martyrdom is coming.  It OPENS the Great Tribulation.

Revelation 6:

9    “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.

10    And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

11    Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”

The Tribulation is called the time of Jacob’s trouble so it is focused against the nations of Jacob (Israel) – especially those of the 10 Tribes.  It is against the western world – primarily English speaking – primarily the leading nations of Israel (let my name be on the two boys) Ephraim and Manasseh – Great Britain and the United States of America!  But notice too – this persecution is against the servants of God who have the testimony of the Word of God (Jesus Christ)!  Where ARE most of the people who have heard God’s truth proclaimed and have accepted that testimony – at least to a degree?  They are in these Israelite Western nations – primarily England and the United States!

Again remember, the Tribulation is the time of Satan’s wrath.  Who is Satan angry with?

Revelation 12:

12    Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.

14    But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

15    So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

16    But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

17    And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

So I hope we understand that the Great Tribulation that is coming is NOT God’s punishment on this present evil world.  The Great Tribulation is a time that Satan the Devil will be unrestrained and will MAKE WAR against the Church of God.  These will be people who obey the 10 commandments!  That means his war will be against people who keep the Sabbath and Holy Days! It will be against people who believe and proclaim the testimony – the word – the message – the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Remember what Matthew 24:21 said?

Matthew 24:

21    For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

For the sake of Church members who are commandment keepers and who believe and proclaim the Word of God, who are now living through this time of persecution – the days of the Great Tribulation WILL BE SHORTENED.  There will be a great famine of the Word during the Tribulation, but there will be two powerful voices during this time who are proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the entire world.  They will have a message of incredible HOPE!  They cannot be silenced and their message will be heard by millions!

Revelation 11:

3    And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

4    These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.

5    And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.

6    These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.”

This will be a powerful warning message to the people of the world!  They will proclaim with great boldness that Jesus Christ is about to return to save the world from itself.  It will be a message of awesome hope!  It will be a message about repentance and turning to God BEFORE the Day of the LORD!  Who is going to hear that message?  Who is going to say: “I’ve heard that before!”  Millions upon millions of people are going to be watching these 2 witnesses on television and the Internet – on their IPhones or whatever!  They will see the incredible miracles – but so too will people have seen great signs and wonders by the false prophet as well as 2 Thessalonians tells us.  So how many hundreds of thousands – millions – of people finally STAND and be willing to now give their lives for the TRUTH OF GOD!   How many millions will realize what they heard, but neglected was right after all?  Millions will be slain for what they are now realize was the truth.  The martyrdom will be widespread and terrifying.  Nothing has ever been like it. This will go on for 2 ½ years.  Still, for those who are managing to escape the torture and death of the Beast and the False Prophet under the direction of Satan the Devil, they now have hope!  Still yet, many more eyes have yet to open.  There is something incredible about to happen as the 2 ½ years of the Great Tribulation draw to a close.

Revelation 6:

12    “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake”;

Now this is going to be quite an attention getter in and of itself.  If we are at this stage of end time events, and the Bible says there was a “great earthquake” we’re likely talking about a continental or even a global event here.  There will be great destruction and likely multiple thousands of people will be injured or killed.  But notice something very strange happens now:

and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

13    And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.

14    Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up,

Notice! These are frightening events happening to the sun and moon.  I don’t think this is just an ordinary solar eclipse.  The moon turns red as blood, there is what appears to be a great meteor shower, and then the sky appears to roll back.  I can’t imagine what they will look like.  But continue:

and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

Reference again made to just how great this earthquake is going to be. Now before we continue, let’s look at a couple other references to these heavenly signs before we read about what results because of them.

Matthew 24:

29    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Luke 21:

25    “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

26    men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Joel 2:

30    “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.

31    The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

Notice, we are now between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.  Now let’s go back and finish reading in Revelation 6 to see the reaction of mankind to these incredible signs in the heavens.

Revelation 6:

15    And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,

16    and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!

17    For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” 

Abject fear!  People around the world are so afraid they would rather die than face these terrifying events!  Imagine what they have already lived through!  They’ve witnessed the systematic execution of millions of God-fearing human beings.  They have seen the miraculous rise of a European power that is controlling world commerce and world religion.  They have seen so many miracles that they are getting used to them by now!  Perhaps more than anything, they are beginning to know there is a God who is very angry and they know they are guilty of many evil deeds. They likely know from the prophecies of the 2 witnesses that things are about to get much worse.  They start screaming to the rocks: “fall on us”!  “Hide us from this angry God”.  For the most part, they are not thinking about repentance and turning to God – they are trying to hide from God.  But not everybody is.  Let’s notice

Revelation 7:

1    “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.

2    Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea,

3    saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

4    And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed.”

Chapter 7 interrupts the explanation of the seals to explain that 144,000 of the physical descendants of Israel, (12,000 from each tribe except Dan, but including both Joseph and Manasseh)  who after being spiritually converted, will be protected from the seven plagues that will be announced by the coming trumpet blasts. Why is Dan excluded? We really don’t know, but Judges 18 specifically speaks of the idolatry of the Tribe of Dan.  Notice in particular

Judges 18

30    “Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.

31    So they set up for themselves Micah’s carved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.”

(Just an aside here…only 30% of the people of Denmark today believe God exists, but their most celebrated holiday is Christmas! Danes are quite liberal and tolerant towards sexual minorities in about every way you can think of. Finding righteous people in a society like this might be rather challenging.)  Those who are now sealed are people who have been called by God, and NOW RESPONDING and have survived the Great Tribulation.  These people are now truly repentant!  They are not lukewarm anymore!  They have now learned their lessons and have been totally and completely humbled before God.  There will no doubt be countless baptisms by now, although many were likely conducted in secret out of fear of those who would kill them for their beliefs.  But these are not the only people who have responded to the witnesses and have now become totally committed to God in heartfelt repentance of their sins.

Revelation 7:

9   “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

10    and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11    All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

12    saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

13    Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

14    And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Isn’t that amazing!  So many people converted during this time that you can’t even count them!  Talk about an end-time harvest!  There have been so many people exposed to this message over the past decades who will recognize it and know that this is their only hope!  I believe this number will include many friends and family members of many of us in this room today.  So many of us know people who were either raised in God’s Church or attended Church years ago and for whatever reason, they weren’t ready to commit to God’s way of life then.  They will be ready now. They turn to God also – in heartfelt and true repentance.  Many believe, and I agree with this, that the innumerable multitude will survive the Great Tribulation along with those identified as the 144,000 and will now also be sheltered by God during the Day of the Lord. The New Revised Standard Version seems to suggest this meaning by the way it translates

Revelation 7:

15    "For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them." (literally: spread a tent over them)

And now the massive devastation of the coming trumpet plagues that God will inflict on mankind during the Day of the Lord will not harm them – they have been sealed!  Is it possible they will now join those of God’s Church who have previously been protected in a place of safety for the past 2 ½ years?  Is it possible God will now provide “final training” for this multitude as well? Well yes, it’s possible, but I don’t have any guaranteed answers to these questions, but it certainly seems like this will be the case.  Regardless, I really don’t want to be part of this group.  Remember we are to pray to God that we will be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.  We should fervently ask God to please protect us and our families from the terror that is coming.

We have now come to the time of the Day of the Lord.

Revelation 8:

1    “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

This is apparently as some type of dramatic effect on the nations.  Perhaps the anticipation that something awesome and fearful is about to happen. Let’s consider this too.  What happened after Noah and his family were “sealed” inside the ark?  Nothing!  For seven days there was “silence”.  Then it started to rain and the world was devastated.  We are about to have the beginning of the greatest event of all human time, at least since the flood. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall the coming of the Son of man be”.  So again, we have a period of eerie silence on Earth.  Perhaps this is one last chance to consider what has already happened and repent. Regardless, this is finally the time that God is going to take charge and directly intervene with His judgment on mankind.

Revelation 8:

2    And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

3    Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

4    And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.

Notice the symbolism of all the prayers that have ascended to God imploring Him to send Jesus Christ – praying fervently for God’s Kingdom.  All those prayers are as this sweet incense to God.  The fulfillment of these prayers is at hand.

Revelation 8:

5    Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.

6    So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”

So this is now the beginning of the one year period of the Day of the Lord.  It is now “at hand”.  What is the response of mankind as the reality of what is about to happen sets in?  Remember, the 2 witnesses will have warned this is coming.

Isaiah 13:

6    “Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.

7    Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man’s heart will melt,

8    And they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames.

9    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.

10    For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.

This is not the heavenly sign now, that is past. This is describing the result of the cataclysmic devastation – perhaps describing what happens after nuclear war.

Isaiah 13:

11    “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.

12    I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more (rare) than the golden wedge (or bars of pure gold) of Ophir.  (Ophir was a country to which the vessels of Solomon traded, and which was particularly distinguished for producing gold)

13    Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the Lord of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.”

Do we hear what this is saying? This is global catastrophe! Millions upon millions will die!  It will become hard to find someone alive! The Earth’s orbit will be affected! These warnings are here as a witness to mankind who can never say: “I didn’t know”.  Let’s notice even more warnings.

Ezekiel 7:

1    Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2    “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel: ‘An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.

3    Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations.

4    My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the Lord!’

5    “Thus says the Lord God: ‘A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come!

6    An end has come, The end has come; It has dawned for you; Behold, it has come!

7    Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land The time has come, A day of trouble is near, And not of rejoicing in the mountains.

8    Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations.

9    ‘My eye will not spare, Nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst. Then you shall know that I am the Lord who strikes.”

That’s not written in hard to understand language, is it? God repeats Himself and is very clear. “An end has come, my eye will not spare and I will not have pity”.  You shall know the Lord.

Joel 2:

1    Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand:

2    A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.”

Joel 2:

10    The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness.

11    The Lord gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; This may be referring to God’s vast army of angels who will be instrumental in carrying out God’s orders. For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?”

Zephaniah 1:

14    “The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out.

15    That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness,

16    A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers.

17    “I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the Lord; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse.”

This is very graphic, but it’s in the Bible.  Perhaps we still aren’t shocked by what we are reading.  Perhaps we still feel comfortable going about our day to day routine like nothing is happening.  Perhaps we’re still concerned about the cares of this world.  I think we need to fully understand what is coming.  From mothers alert.org listen to the reality of what is just ahead of us.  These statements describe the result of a nuclear explosion:

“Outside the circle where people will be instantly vaporized from the initial gamma radiation blast, the light from the explosion (which is many times hotter than the sun) is so bright that it will immediately and permanently blind every living thing. People will begin to suffer from vomiting, skin rashes, and an intense unquenchable thirst as their hair falls out in clumps. Their skin will begin to peel off. The developing firestorm is what the survivors of the initial blast will be worrying about -- if they can think straight at all. Many will have become instantly "shell-shocked" -- incapacitated and unable to proceed. Many will simply go mad. Perhaps they are among the "lucky" ones, as well. The firestorm produces hurricane-force winds in a matter of minutes. The fire burns so hot that the asphalt in the streets begins to melt and then burn, even as people are trying to run across it, literally melting into the pavement themselves as they run. Victims, on fire, jump into rivers, only to catch fire again when they surface for air. Yet it is hard to see even these pitiable souls as the least lucky ones in a nuclear attack. For the survivors of the initial blast who do not then die in the firestorm that follows, many will die painfully over the next few weeks, often after a brief, hopeful period where they appear to be getting better. It might begin as a tingling sensation on the skin, or an itching, which starts shortly after the blast. These symptoms are signs that the body is starting to break down internally, at the molecular level. The insides of those who get a severe dose of gamma radiation, but manage to survive the other traumas, whose organs had once been well defined as lungs, liver, heart, intestines, etc., begin to resemble an undefined mass of bloody pulp. Within days, or perhaps weeks, the victim, usually bleeding painfully from every hole and pore in their body, at last dies and receives their final mercy. But this too will probably not be how most victims of a nuclear attack will die. A significant percentage, probably most, of the people who die from a nuclear attack will die much later, from the widespread release of radioactive material into the environment. These deaths will occur all over the world, for centuries to come. Scattered deaths, and pockets of higher mortality rates, will continue from cancer, leukemia, and other health effects, especially genetic damage to succeeding generations.”

Doesn’t this match up with the descriptions we’ve already read from the pages of the Bible? These things are coming.  It is real, and it is near, it is going to happen.

We are not reading and talking about things like this to scare you or give nightmares to our children.  But this is Bible Prophecy.  I think it is important for us to remember that despite the punishment that God is going to bring on this world, we must never forget that God is the very definition of the word – love.  You can read the Bible from cover to cover and see how it is filled with examples of God’s mercy and compassion.

Perhaps Matthew 23:37-39 has much deeper meaning for us now:

Matthew 23:

37    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

38    See! Your house is left to you desolate;

39    for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

That will be the eventual result of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.  As we read so many times in the Book of Ezekiel.  Notice

Ezekiel 12:

15    “Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.

16    But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”

That is God’s objective.  It must be our objective today.

Next time we’ll open the 7th Seal and go through the trumpet plagues, the Woes, the 7 Thunders, Armageddon, and conclude with the Day One of the World Tomorrow.

The seventh seal is divided into seven "trumpets," which reveal further events leading up to Jesus Christ's return. These events, which are not described in the Olivet Prophecy, are sometimes referred to as "the seven trumpet plagues." The seventh seal is comprised of these seven events. Be sure to read all of Revelation 8 and 9, which describe the events to occur at the first six trumpets.

The first six trumpets plagues are:

First trumpet (Revelation 8:7): devastation of earth's vegetation.

Second trumpet (verses 8-9): devastation of oceans and seas.

Third trumpet (verses 10-11): devastation of rivers and fresh water.

Fourth trumpet (verse 12): sun, moon and stars partially darkened.

Fifth trumpet (Revelation 9:1-11): a satanically influenced military power.

Sixth trumpet (verses 13-19): an enormous rival military power.

What happens as a result of this sixth trumpet plague?

"By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed . . ." (Revelation 9:18).

Here we read that another third of earth's inhabitants will die at the hands of this massive 200 million-man army (verse 18). This is in addition to those who have lost their lives earlier. These frightening prophecies help us understand how all life on earth will be threatened with extinction!

How do people react to these events? Do they finally repent of their evil and turn to God?

"But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts" (verses 20-21).

Incredible as it may seem, even after man has brought utter disaster on himself and after God begins to punish him for his rebellion and sins, man will still choose to defy his Creator. He will continue in the same direction that will bring mankind to the brink of extinction.

The Seven Thunders (after the 6th Trumpet, but before the 7th)

In chapter 10, as prelude to the seventh and final trumpet—the third and last woe—John sees an angel holding "a little book open in his hand" (verse 2). The angel's voice is compared with the roar of a lion. As the angel speaks, John hears seven thunderous utterances. Then John says: "... I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them'" (verses 3-4). Notice that God revealed more prophecy to John than He allowed him to record (Revelation 10:1-4)

Next the angel emphasizes the importance of the imminent seventh trumpet. "The angel ... swore by Him who lives forever ... that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets" (verses 5-7). The climax of the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Bible will occur when Christ returns at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

John then receives specific instructions: "'Go, take the little book ... and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.' Then I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter" (verses 8-11). The meaning seems to be that while there is initial joy and wonder in the message, this turns to heartache when the magnitude of the corrective actions required to turn humanity from its wickedness really sinks in (compare Ezekiel 2:9-3 :3, 14).

The angel further tells John, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings" (Revelation 10:11)

The prophecies here will be explained and proclaimed to the nations at the time of the end. God plans to ensure that the final proclamation of His prophecies, and the gospel itself, grabs the attention of all people!

Armageddon – the valley of decision

The actual return of Christ

The resurrection

Day One

TRIBULATION, WITNESSES, HARVEST AND SIGNS