Daniel 9:27 tells us that the seven-year tribulation will begin when the antichrist confirms a covenant “with many” that will include Israel. Not only has this not happened, but 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 tells us that the rapture must happen before the revealing of the antichrist. Because the antichrist has not arrived on the scene and those of us in Christ remain earthbound, we know the time of God’s wrath upon the earth has not yet begun.
Since this is the case, why are we seeing so many things happen in our world that resemble tribulation conditions?
A comment on my blog referred to our current day as the “shadow of the tribulation”; I think that is quite accurate. The horrible conditions of the tribulation have not yet started, but we see its ever-darkening shadow everywhere in the world.
Here are some examples of what it means to live in the shadow of the tribulation:
- Coronavirus: Revelation 6:8 lists “pestilence” as a contributing factor to the deaths of over a billion people during the seal judgments. The Coronavirus fits well with this scenario. Some estimate that as many as fifty thousand have already died from this virus. Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, warned that the Coronavirus might become widespread in the United States “beyond 2020.”
Yes, the death toll from this virus remains far short of the estimated fifty million who died of the Spanish Flu after World War I. However, if unchecked the coronavirus has the potential to kill many more than that in the months and years to come. Could this carry over into the tribulation? We do not know.
- Fires in Australia: As I watched videos of the raging fires and the destruction in Australia during recent months, I thought of the first trumpet judgment in Revelation 8:7, “The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire. . . . And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.” Could these fires be another foreshadowing of what looms ahead for planet Earth in the not-so-distant future? I think so.
- Locusts, Locusts, Locusts: More recent headlines tell of billions of locusts that are swarming across eastern Africa and Asia, impacting countries such as Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Somalia, and Ethiopia. This has led the United Nations to warn of severe famines for an ever-expanding area of Africa that could possibly cause the starvation deaths of millions of people. Jesus talked about “famines” that would impact the earth as a sign of His return. Based on John’s description of the seal judgments, we know that famine conditions on the earth will contribute to the deaths of untold millions during the early years of the tribulation (Rev. 6:6-8).
- Wormwood: Revelation 8:10-11 refers to a “great star” that will “fall from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water. . . .” This is almost certainly a large asteroid that will have the appearance of a shooting star to those on the earth during the tribulation.
Last week, NASA warned of an asteroid that it said would travel past planet Earth “at speeds of more than 35,500 miles per hour” on Saturday, February 15, 2020. Because of its speed and size, experts tell us it has the potential to destroy an entire continent should it strike the earth. The asteroid referred to in Revelation 8 will cause widespread death with a deadly poison the Bible refers to as “wormwood.” This toxin appears to be much more fatal than the plant we know by that name.
- Great Delusion: In 2 Thessalonians 2:11, Paul writes about the “strong delusion” God will send upon Christ-rejecting people during the tribulation so they will “believe what is false.” There are days when it appears as though this deception has already arrived. A recent survey revealed that 45% of people in America would vote for a socialist for president. Given the deadly horrors caused by Marxism during the twentieth century and the current state of Venezuela, how could anyone possibly favor a socialist for president?
- One World Religion: Pope Francis has chosen May 14, the day Israel celebrates its independence, as the time he will make a concerted push for a one-world religion. This undoubtedly fits with the pope’s repeated calls for a New World Order. One wonders if Pope Francis realizes that his pleas for such things align with biblical prophecy of a one-world religion and government during the tribulation.
I could add earthquakes and volcanoes, the killing of believers in so many places in our world, the widespread apostasy in the church, the great wickedness of our day, rumors of wars, and the use of Revelation 13 technology to this growing list of end-time signs. If just one or two of these many things were true in our world, it might not be such a strong indicator of what is to come. The world has seen deadly plagues, widespread famines, and horrific wars at many times in its history, but who can ignore so great a foreshadowing of the tribulation?
On February 17, 2020, Michael Snyder published an article he titled “10 Plagues that Are Hitting Our Planet Simultaneously.” As the title suggests, Snyder lists ten pestilences that currently impact the earth to varying degrees. Toward the end of the article he asks, “Can any of you remember a time when we have been hit by crisis after crisis like this all at once? 2020 has certainly started off with quite a bang, and many expect global events to continue to accelerate.”
What do all these things tell us?
It’s Past Time to Wake Up
About a year ago, I posted an article on my blog with a large alarm clock signaling the need for us to wake up to the fact we live in the last days. What we currently see in our world now resembles flashing red lights and loud sirens alerting us to the nearness of the tribulation as well as the time of Jesus’ appearing.
I am not sure what else to think of these early glimpses into the tribulation that we see throughout our world. The catastrophes are severe enough to get our attention, but fall far short of the levels of what we see in the book of Isaiah and Revelation concerning what lies ahead for the world.
It’s a Sobering Reminder of What Lies Ahead for the World
The darkening shadow cast by the tribulation reminds us of just how awful life will be on the earth during the tribulation. It’s sobering to consider the horrors of this coming time.
As bad as the coronavirus is and might be in the future, it pales in light of what is coming. Let’s say the population of earth is 6 billion at the start of the tribulation. The seal judgments alone will reduce the number of people on earth by 25%. Imagine wars, pestilences, and famine that take the lives of 1.5 billion people (Rev. 6:7-8). It’s mind-numbing to consider such a great loss of life.
The current panic caused by the coronavirus is relatively minor compared to what people living during the tribulation will experience. Some estimate that three fourths of the earth’s population will perish during this time, which fits with what other passages reveal about this time.
In Isaiah 13:9-13, the Lord talks about His outpouring of wrath during the day of the Lord, which we know as the tribulation. His words confirm the great loss of life we read about in the book of Revelation, “I will punish the world for its evil; and the wicked for their iniquity . . . . I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir” (vv. 11-12).
Jesus said this about the latter half of the tribulation, “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved” (Matt. 24:22). If not for His second coming, the wars and afflictions of this day would wipe out the entire human race.
Is it any wonder Jesus described this time like this, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matt. 24:21)?
With such a dire end-time scenario waiting in the wings for this world, it makes sense that God would warn people over a lengthy period of time concerning the great terrors that lie ahead for the world. I believe the Lord is doing that now.
If you have not yet placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, please do so soon. The door is open to invite Him into your life before judgment falls on this world. Now is the time to turn to the Savior who died in your place upon the cross. Tomorrow may be too late.
You may have only days, weeks, or months left to do so before Jesus returns to take His own out of the world before the tribulation starts. The Lord may extend this time of warning to more years; we do not know. However, He could just as easily come for His church today.
Are you ready? We already see the shadow of the tribulation; how much longer before the shadow turns to the darkness of tribulation?
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