Life and Death :: By Jerry Mcdermott

The Tribulation
Are you afraid of dying? As you are reading this, you should be afraid of living. You are probably aware of the everyday news approach to keep us succinctly informed. Unfortunately, this is worldly news about every trivial detail. What is missing is the news happening in the spiritual world as it is affecting the visible and audible news. Furthermore, not many people are really affected by the daily news happenings. This is not true of what is happening invisibly.

Are you aware of the Rapture or the Tribulation? The daily news will not explain that we are living like the era of Noah which was like the forthcoming End Times of our era. The situation is best described as man versus God, the eternal Creator, who loves us. He wanted us to always be with Him, so He gave us His reflections or commands that would ensure this connection. This is best explained in His words, “Be holy as I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).

How could anyone possibly be in God’s presence without being holy? Yet since creation, our loving God has given us so many opportunities to become holy. From an overall standpoint, this is almost universally a joke among today’s vast population or even overlooked even among His followers. That is one clue about our declining era, as He said the apostasy would occur in the End Times.

This has nothing to do with the various isms attracting folks as an alternate religion, but solely directed to the church. In other words, it is the church people who will seek other avenues. Back to the Book of Genesis: Satan indicated that Eve could be like God. Isn’t that what so many modern religions are promising? We want to become like a god, not having to honor another god, even if there is only one true God. Remember the meeting between Satan and Jesus where Satan wanted Jesus to adore him? Toward the end of the Tribulation period, Satan will again demand adoration in the third temple.

To explain the End times, Jesus gave us a little geography lesson involving gates and roads, which also revealed the demographic breakdown of the earth’s population through the Church Age and into the End Times. He described the two gates that lead to eternal life. The surprise is that most people will choose the smooth road and the wide gate to damnation (Matthew 7:13-14).

Paul also confirmed that in spite of the worldwide disasters accompanied by Satan’s signs and lying wonders, many will still choose sinful endeavors. Therefore, as some people did not accept Christ before the troubles started where everything was peaceful, why would they choose goodness even during the Tribulation? (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

The Tribulation is God’s happening as a last hope before His Second Coming, the judgment, and His millennial reign.

Consider this comment about daily life: People will be narcissistic, puffed up with pride, reckless, boastful, and really love money. People will experience ungratefulness as well as disobedience. Their unloving and unforgiving attitude will slander others, as self-control is absent. Expect them to be cruel, hating goodness, and betraying their friends. God will be scoffed at, and nothing will be considered sacred. While this may sound like something scriptural, actually it is my retranslation of Paul’s letter to 2 Timothy 3:1-5. What he described thousand of years ago was meant for us today, as he said that in the End Times there would be perilous days.

Don’t the above qualities seem like the everyday happenings in 2018? Of course they do, but they are only person-to-person problems affecting society. What is more intriguing are the days of the Tribulation, as they are described as the seven years of terror. They are enough to scare anyone. However, hang in with me, for I will reveal later how to avoid these monstrous times and live happily.

Everyone should know the daily struggles which can be avoided. In effect, God will rescue His people from wrath. The method is not part of a secret society, as it has been revealed by God and presented in the Bible for thousands of years. The truth was visible; what was missing was the quest for the truth. The modern axiom, whatever, seems to belie man’s untimely efforts to bother seeking anything other than the daily routine.

There are numerous truths that God wants us to know and practice. One of these given so many years ago has a special meaning for our generation. The most popular version is, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Since God loves His people, He also inspired others to say something similar to ensure we got the message.

Solomon proclaimed, “He shall die for lack of instruction” (Proverbs 5:23). David said, “Fools die for lack of wisdom” (Proverbs 10:21). Job proclaimed, “But if they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword and they shall die without knowledge” (Job 36:12). The Message Bible had a slightly different slant with people being ruined because they didn’t know what is right or true. While the grammar is different in these examples, the message is the same, that we will perish without the truth. Alternately, we will not perish if we accept Jesus who is the truth (John 3:16).

The book of Revelation is geared toward the return of Jesus. Before that happens, John the apostolic writer, describes some frightening events that precede the return of Jesus to rule and reign in Jerusalem. Rather than reflecting on the actual allegorical events in Revelation, I will stress the actual or resultant happenings in this Tribulation period. However, you should read the events in Revelation. Start with the Laodicean church, which is really the church of our era. Then read through about the fateful days.

The letter that Jesus wrote to the ancient church of Philadelphia should also inspire us to be aware of the dangers inherent in the Tribulation era: “Because you have kept My command to preserve, I also will keep you from this hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world to test those who dwell on earth” (Revelation 3:10).

The era is marked by wrath from God, Satan, and the anti-Christ. The period starts with the satanically inspired anti-Christ as the worldwide leader, making a peace treaty with Israel. While this sounds like great news, he breaks the treaty after three and one half years. As a dictator, he requires a stamped image on the right hand or forehead. With this identification, his followers will be recognized. Anyone not marked or refusing to worship him will be killed, probably by beheading.

Scripture indicates that “He is the lawless one according to the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:9-12).

The Tribulation period begins as stated with the anti-Christ making a peace treaty with Israel. The catastrophes then start with a growing indication of a forthcoming conquering power. Next, a worldwide war ensues which causes famine, pestilences, and more world death. During this time, the Christian martyrs call out for God’s justice. Finally, there is a great earthquake and changes in the heavenly realm. The actual descriptions in Revelation have Jesus opening scrolls before each of the calamities above.

One half of the world’s people will be dead before the middle of the Tribulation. In the second half, Satan is cast out of heaven and blends with the Anti-Christ. While the spirit of anti-Christ has been present since ancient times, the actual satanic person will now run amok in the world. His push is to “Follow me” as he demands that people worship him.

A new happening is a series of trumpets. In the first, fire will burn one third of all the trees. In the second trumpet activity, one third of sea creatures will be killed, and the earth’s water will be contaminated. Then heavenly changes will diminish one third of earth’s light. An angel then gives a warning for the three woes remaining, as locusts are released and demons are released to kill mankind. Jesus now returns to rule and reign. Scripture shows that in spite of all the disasters, the majority of people still rebel against God.

Jesus Himself warned us about the terrible days coming: “For those days will be more filled with anguish than any from the beginning of the world until now or in all ages to come. Indeed if the period had not been shortened, not a human being would be saved” (Matthew 14:21-22).

Earlier, I spoke about a solution to avoid the Tribulation. It is a God-ordained, loving solution to save His people from the horrors that will affect mankind. The church will not suffer the abnormal worldwide happenings. The reason is the Rapture of the church whereby Christians, living or dead, will be resurrected and meet the Lord in the clouds and become heavenly dwellers. Throughout both Testaments, our Lord has always warned His people about the future through His prophets. Therefore, it has never been a surprise that prophetic things have indeed happened or will happen.

Although Isaiah directed his words toward the Israeli people, they are a foretelling of the Rapture of the church: “But your dead shall live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead” (Isaiah 26:19, NIV).

The requirement is to be a Born-Again Christian. This involves accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and asking forgiveness of our sins. What an insurance policy written by the Apostle John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit! “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This was reaffirmed in his first epistle:

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). The Message Bible is more direct: “My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality, not the illusion.”

What so many people miss is the verb tense. It is not a future event!  Accepting the resurrected Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are then granted eternal life which will be fully enjoyed after your demise or the Rapture to the heavenly realm.