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Printed News Letter

February 2008 Issue

The Tribulation Period
Feb 1st, 2008
Art Sadlier

God’s Word tells us about a time of great judgment that will come upon the world. Jesus described that time, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21. From Scripture we discover God has five major purposes for this seven year period of tribulation.

1. To punish sinners and remove them from the face of the earth. Isaiah said, “Behold the Day of the Lord cometh, (tribulation period), cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners out of it”. Isaiah 13:9 this is a clear statement, God hates sin and God hates disobedience and unbelief (see also Is. 13:11-3 & Ps. 7:11).

Understand, one second after the rapture, there will not be a living believer on the earth. Seven years later, plus a few days, there will not be an unbeliever alive on the earth (Matthew 25:32, 41).

Early in the tribulation period, one quarter of the earth’s population will die (Rev. 6:8). By Revelation 9:15 another third will be killed, equaling over half of the people on the earth. After the vial judgments of chapter sixteen, probably over two thirds will be dead. Jesus said “… except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:” (Matthew 24:22).

What a prospect this world faces. Do you think they need to know about it? Who will tell them if we don’t?

2. To bring about a world wide revival. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14. The context here is the tribulation. John tells us that 144,000 Jewish evangelists will preach the gospel, imagine 144,000 Apostle Pauls.

  1. A great multitude will be saved and martyred. We see them in heaven in Rev. 7:9, 10, 14. These are not a part of the Church and they are not a part of Israel.
  2. Another group of gentiles will be saved and survive to go into the millennial kingdom in their naturals bodies to populate the kingdom Matthew 25:31-34. Later we read about these and their saved children in Revelation 21:24-26 and Revelation 22:2. These are not a part of Israel and not a part of the church.

3. To Redeem Israel. We read about this event, beginning in Zechariah 12:10. We see every living Jew being saved at the end of the tribulation period, never to turn away from the Lord again. The Lord will bring Israel through the fire of persecution to bring her to Himself. That process is even now beginning. Read more about it in Zechariah 13:8, 9. Hear those beautiful words, “I will say, it is My people: and they shall say, the Lord is my God”.

What a grand and glorious purpose for the tribulation period!

4. To judge apostasy and destroy apostate religion. All down through the church age there has been apostate Christianity. Today it is on almost every street corner. Those who claim to represent Christ, but who oppose the gospel and attack the true church.

As the age comes to a close we have seen apostate Christianity growing exponentially. We see the vast ecumenical movement laying the foundation for the harlot church of the tribulation period.

During the tribulation period we see this counterfeit Christianity filling the whole earth (Revelation 17:5). This is the climax of Apostasy.

In Revelation 17:3 we see the union of apostate Christianity with the kingdom of antichrist. In Revelation 17:1 we see the purpose of God announced and in Revelation 17:15-17 we see that judgment carried out.

This is another great purpose of God for the tribulation period.

5. The judgment of God upon the Gentile nations (Armageddon). The Gentile nations began under Nimrod at the tower of Babel. From that day to this, man has sought to create his utopia on earth through human government, apart from God.

Human government has always been in rebellion against God and His Word. The climax of human government in rebellion against God is now about to occur.

God’s purpose for this world is that Israel is to be the head of the nations. Today all the nations of the world are seeking to remove Israel from the land God has promised to her and to which God has restored her in 1948 and 1967.

The judgment of the nations is soon to take place, we read about it in Joel 3:2 “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead (judge) with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”

Today all of the nations of the world, in their pride and arrogance, are determined to set up a Palestinian state on the land God gave to Israel. If only they could see the ultimate consequences of this rebellion against God and His Word.

Let me give to you something that will help you to understand what God is doing in the tribulation period.

There are three great streams running through history and through God’s Word, these three streams all reach a climax in the tribulation period.

Stream 1 The Redemptive Stream: The redemptive stream began as God provided a covering for man’s sin in Eden. We see it on almost every page of Scripture. All down through history God has been revealing the unfolding of His plan to redeem men.

The plan was completed on the cross of Calvary, as God the Son was made a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The invitation to receive this redemption is open to all who will, in repentance and faith, receive the Saviour and His salvation.

This redemptive stream reaches a climax in the tribulation period when an innumerable host of men and women will be redeemed.

Stream 2 The Judgmental Stream: It also began in Eden as God put Adam and Eve out of His presence because of their sin. Like a great drum which never stops beating, the judgment of God has fallen on mankind all down through the ages. Man is cursed by sin, germs, disease, cancer, weeds, aging, hatred, personality disorders, war, pollution, etc., etc. All represent the judgment of God upon sin, though the man who has cancer may not be any more sinful than the one who does not, “all have sinned”.

A greater judgment is the blindness God gives to those who turn away from the truth, blindness to the truth. The greatest judgment is the eternal lake of fire. This judgment will fall upon the world in a temporal way in the tribulation period. What an awful prospect!

Stream 3 The stream of Apostasy: Apostasy means to stand off, to stand away from, to fall away. Down through the ages men have been falling away from, departing from, the truth God has given them. Apostasy also began in Eden and will climax in the tribulation period. Both Israel and much of the church have consistently and persistently departed from God’s truth. Today that apostasy is accelerating.

When the trumpet sounds all that is unregenerate in Christendom and all that is unregenerate in evangelicalism will be spewed into the tribulation period to become a part of the great harlot church which God will destroy. There is a great urgency to warn evangelicals of the deceitfulness of apostasy (Matthew 24:4, 5, 11, 24, 25).

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