Could we detail the judgments that occur during the Tribulation?

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Could we detail the judgments that occur during the Tribulation?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:40 am

It is the judgments as much as anything that gives the Tribulation its rightful reputation. But it might be beneficial to first look at the reasons for the Tribulation: Why would God orchestrate such a dreadful time? The fact is, God has a purpose for everything He does, and the Tribulation is no exception. That said, some reasons to consider why God would plan a Tribulation might include: (1) bringing time to an end, all the way from Adam to Christ’s second coming, to, as Daniel put it, to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy—Daniel 9:24—a period of time where it was possible for individuals to enter into relationship with and worship God voluntarily; (2) to fulfill Israel’s prophecies. God is not done with His “chosen people,” and some prophecies—rebuilding the Temple, for instance—will see their fulfillment during the Tribulation. The Jewish nation is still the object of God’s love and affection—and desire for relationship; (3) to shake man’s confidence in himself by creating a world that is unstable due to the incredible physical signs—earthquakes, plagues, etc.—that may cause man to reconsider God’s offer of grace and forgiveness; and (4) to force man to finally make a choice—between Christ and the Antichrist. As horrific as the Tribulation is going to be, it is also going to be seven final years of opportunity to accept or reject Jesus Christ.
Now before we go on, we should remember that these visions are being presented to a first-century man—John—with only first century experiences. He is describing what he sees the best he can, but sometimes what he is actually seeing can only be guessed at. That all being said, here is the sequence of the judgments—a sequence of three sets of seven judgments each, each one progressively worse than the previous set—that will take place during the Tribulation:

The Seven Seal Judgments:
(1) I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest—Revelation 6:1-2. This seal is a white horse, but the focus is on the rider. This is our introduction to the Antichrist. In the vision, he rides with a bow, but no arrows are mentioned. He wears a crown—as would a ruler—and his intention is to conquer—but unarmed. This suggests diplomacy is his main weapon. The Antichrist is going to be the greatest leader the world has ever seen, and the Bible presents a pretty amazing picture of this guy. He is going to be a genius in several areas: (1) He is going to be an intellectual genius. Daniel calls him a master of intrigue—Daniel 8:23b who will succeed at whatever he does—Daniel 8:24b. But he is going to be a dark genius; according to Daniel, He [the Antichrist] will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior—Daniel 8:25a. (2) He will be an oratorical genius. You think Hitler could hold an audience’s attention? This guy will be so much greater. According to John’s vision, The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority—Revelation 13:2. That idea of “a mouth like that of a lion” is an ancient symbolic expression reflecting the majesty and awe-producing effects of his voice. His speech will captivate the world! (3) He will be a political genius. As a diplomat preaching peace, he will actually bring peace to places that have seemingly never known peace—including the Middle East. Such a man would earn the love and respect of people all over the world. (4) He will be a commercial/economic genius. He will control the world’s economy—and the world will love it because it seems that prosperity will be available to everyone under his rule. Daniel tells us that he will do as he pleases—Daniel 11:36a, including the fact that he will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver—Daniel 11:43a. But his rule will become more and more invasive, eventually, according to John, leading to this prophecy: He [the Antichrist] also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hands or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name—Revelation 13:16-17. (5) Contrary to his peaceful beginning, he will be revealed to be a military genius. Even in his introduction on the world scene, his intention, according to John, is to be a conqueror bent on conquest—Revelation 6:2b. Eventually the pretense of peace will fall away, but the world will continue in awe of him; John quotes the people of the time saying, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?”—Revelation 13:4b. (6) And lastly, the Antichrist will be a religious genius, uniting the people of the world into a one-world religion. As Paul wrote in his second letter to the Thessalonian church, He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God—Paul, II Thessalonians 2:4. And John tells us the result: All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world—Revelation 13:8. To put it simply, the world will be convinced that they have found their messiah, their savior. And they will treat him that way—and he certainly will do nothing to stop them.
(2) When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword—Revelation 6:3-4. The color of the horse suggests blood and death, and the idea is of a short, intense period of colossal war.
(3) When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”—Revelation 6:5-6. The picture here is of severe, crippling, worldwide famine—which would not be surprising considering this is following a period of intense warfare. It is suggested by the quotes of the worth of a day’s wages that normal purchasing power may be reduced to as little as an eighth of its former level.
(4) When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth—Revelation 6:7-8. Even the animal kingdom gets into the act at this moment, and up to 25% of the world’s remaining population is killed by war, famine, disease, and the attacks of wild animals.
(5) When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed—Revelation 6:9-11. This is a moment when we first hear about martyrs—Christians who have died, killed by unbelievers during the Tribulation. These are people who were “left behind” at the Rapture but, in the time following, realized the truth of the gospel and came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. However, their doing so puts them at lethal risk, which is what is being mentioned here. There will be more martyrs yet to come. One thing this passage tells us: It will still be possible to be saved, even during the Tribulation. It’s just going to be an insanely dangerous and difficult way to live. Since come to Christ will be about as opposed to the Antichrist is as possible, they will be hunted down and killed without mercy. Because they will refuse any association with his one-world government, including obviously taking the “mark of the beast,” which will exclude them for any and all economic consideration. Christians are going to stick out like a sore thumb!
(6) I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”—Revelation 6:12-17. What an amazing sequence of events: a massive earthquake, the sun turns black, the moon turns blood red, the stars fall to earth, the sky rolls up like a scroll, and incredible geologic upheaval. And what is the result? Not repentance. Major fear, yes—but repentance, no.
(7) When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them—Revelation 8:1-6. The seventh seal is simply the introduction to the “trumpet” judgments.

The Seven Trumpet Judgments:
(1) The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up—Revelation 8:7. This judgment makes the earth instantly a difficult place in which to live. Some scholars have wondered if this judgment reflects a possible nuclear war in the face of this much “burned up” destruction.
(2) The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed—Revelation 8:8-9. There have been historical instances of incredibly major volcanic eruptions (Krakatoa 1883, Thera (a Mediterranean island near Patmos, 1440 BC) that caused similar destruction to what this trumpet judgment suggests.
(3) The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers, and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter—Revelation 8:10-11. A few years ago, a movie was released called “Deep Impact,” a rebooting of a 1950s sci-fi classic called “When Worlds Collide.” It told the story of the earth being in collision with a giant meteor. It is always possible that God calls on nature, so wounded by man’s fall, to cause this judgment.
(4) The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, 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 turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night—Revelation 8:12. This would actually be the natural result of the “deep impact” of the earth’s impact with a meteor, with the resulting debris that would be forced into the atmosphere in the wake of that collision. And, of course, one of the results of light being diminished would be a further reducing of the food supply, as plant growth and even survival would obviously be greatly hindered.
(5) 5. The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not given power to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them—Revelation 9:1-6. These are thought to be some kind of demonic beings, released just for this specific judgment. Even in the face of such excruciating pain, the people of the world will seek death but not repentance.
(6) The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number. The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts—Revelation 9:13-21. As devastating as this judgment will be (1/3 of the remaining population killed), there still will be no turning to God.
(7) The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and those who reverence your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm—Revelation 11:15-19. The trumpets are done; the bowls are about to begin.

The Seven Bowl Judgments—The Worse Of All:
(1) The first angel went out and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image—Revelation 16:2. In the Greek, these sores are abscesses or ulcers, and they are also termed malignant.
(2) The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died—Revelation 16:3
(3) The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments—Revelation 16:4-7
(4) The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him—Revelation 16:8-9. Dermatologists tell us of the almost epidemic proportions of melanoma—skin cancer—because of our exposure to the sun. We haven’t seen anything yet.
(5) The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done—Revelation 16:10-11
(6) The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon—Revelation 16:12-16. This sets the stage for the battle of Armageddon—the final battle before the triumphant return of Christ.
(7) The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible—Revelation 16:17-21.

What does all this ultimately mean? History is “His—God’s—story.” He is sovereign, over all time and events and people. He will win. He will rule. As He always has been, is, and will be, He is in charge—completely and without exception. Praise His name!

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