The Tribulation, a vivid picture
Many of us wonder about the tribulation period that is yet to come. Some wonder if it is true or speculation. Others wonder what it will be like. Because the book of revelations is hard to understand due to its termanology, I will create a vivid picture according to the bibles account of what it will be like here on earth during this period. This is not for the faint hearted and will be true to the scriptures.
The beginning of sorrows
The bible describes this period as a time of great distress, Matthew 24:21-22 "If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; nothing like the world has ever seen before or will after.
The tribulation period will last for seven years. The first three and a half years, although treacherous, will be mild compared to the second three and a half years. The first thing that people will notice just prior to the tribulation, is the rapture of the church. I have covered the rapture in one of my other posts, so I won't get into that here. However there are approximately two billion Christian in the world today and believe me, someone will notice when they are gone! Many will try to explain their disappearance as alien abductions or some other phenomenon. Others will know what happened and fear for their lives, as they should.
There are twenty one events that will take place during the tribulation. Several events happen in succession and others are spread out. There are seven seals or scrolls that are opened by Jesus Himself. He is the only one worthy to break the seals. The first six seals each contain a single event. The seventh seal contains seven trumpet and seven bowl judgements. The trumpets are seven angels each with a trumpet standing at the throne of God. As each one blows his trumpet a catastrophe hits the earth. The seven bowls represent Gods judgement on mankind and all the inhabitants of the earth including the animals. Each bowl is poured out by an angel of God.
Immediately following the rapture of the church,
The first seal is broken and the scroll is opened:
The arrival of the Antichrist. He is known as the rider on the white horse. One of the four horsemen. He will immediately come to power in the European Union, which the bible refers to as the revived roman empire. He will seem to the world to be the answer to prayers. He will be a handsome man and everyone will admire him in the beginning. He is the one that forms a peace treaty with Israel that is supposed to last seven years. It will in fact be broken in three and a half years. There are two major wars that will take place during the period and several smaller skirmishes. The first major war may even begin soon, quite possibly even before the tribulation starts. The world is poised and in position for this battle to begin. In the bible this is the war referred to in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This is NOT Armageddon as described in The Book Of Revelation. Armageddon involves an army led by the 5 kings of the east (China and others) who invade Israel, very possibly with combined European forces, and ends in the return of Christ and the saints. That happens at the end of the tribulation period. The battle that Ezekiel is referring to is between Israel and her allies against the far northern nation of Russia and her allies, with Iran being mentioned as first among them, with the result being a victory for Israel and a battle which will takes 7 months to bury the dead and leaves Israel with a 7 year supply of fuel.
This is a summery of the battle.
God says he will bring his mountains to fight on behalf of Israel, and he states that when the enemy nations come into Israel there will be an earthquake and ensuing confusion in the enemy so that they start fighting and killing each other. (38:19-22) The use of mountains in prophetic writing always indicates nations. So we understand that God calling on all His mountains to fight against Russia indicates others will defend Israel. Ezekiel states in 38:22 that when those nations get to the mountains in Israel there will be a great rainstorm, hailstorm, and fire and brimstone (possibly indicating modern bombs/explosives). In Ezekiel 39:2 it says that only one sixth of the invading army will survive. On top of the local carnage, God says he will send "...a fire on Magog and among them that live securely in the isles (border areas and its allies homelands)..." In other words, Israel and its allies will bring the attack against the nation of Russia and its allies, not just against the armies invading Israel. This could mean limited nuclear missiles, or Ezekiel, having never seen modern explosives, could just be telling us of massive strikes against Russia and allies with conventional weapons.
Ezekiel states in 39:14-15 Israel will hire men full time to walk through the land looking for pieces of bodies, and putting markers by bones when they find them. (An exact depiction of modern practices)
This battle ends the Arab-Israeli conflict. It puts an end to Muslim terrorism because Russia is destroyed in part and is now impotent militarily, Iran is destroyed and most likely Syria is destroyed or nearly so.
It is during this war that the Antichrist rises to power. During this time the worlds economy will continue to spiral out of control. The financial system as we know it today will fail, therefore causing the world governments to take over all matters of money. This is when you will be forced to accept the mark or the mark of the beast.
Revelation 13:16-17 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
The mark will be some type of chip used to identify you, Without this chip you cannot buy or sell anything. In order to receive the chip you must swear elegance to the union and denounce Christ. Remember this is the Antichrist and he hates Christ and God the father. Once you accept the mark you will give up your chance for salvation forever. The bible says you will go to hell! If you refuse to accept the mark, you will be beheaded. I don't know about you, but I'm not thrilled about either. The bible says this,
Rev.14:9: And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10: The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11:And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
"Revelation 20:4 Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
The second seal is broken:
Following the Antichrist comes the second horseman, the rider on the red horse. He represents the spilling of blood or war. During the tribulation many think of Armageddon. This will happen, but not until the end. There will be many wars fought during the entire period leading up to the final war of Armageddon. The Antichrist conquers many countries in order to make the European Union the most powerful force on earth. Once again the revival of the roman empire. There will be few places on earth that will be spared from warfare. It will be global.
The third seal is broken:
Then comes the third horseman. the rider on the black horse. He represents famine. This will affect everyone on the earth no matter what your social status. Because the economy will be so bad, two pints of wheat will cost a full days wages. That would be equivalent to a loaf of bread costing one hundred dollars in this current age. Millions will starve to death
The fourth seal is broken:
But it gets worse. Then the worst horseman comes, the rider on the pale horse. He represents death and pestilence. Wars and famine cause death to millions of people and they are left unburied. Because of this, pestilence follows. Disease will run rampant and will kill millions more.
The fifth seal is broken:
This represents religious persecution and martyrdom. Those who refuse the mark of the beast and others who have come to accept Christ during this period are persecuted and martyred.
All of these events mentioned so far have taken place during the first three and a half years. Notice that these events are all man made. Only five of the events out of the twenty one have happened and already 1/4 of the worlds population has died. Considering the total earths population is 6.7 Billion. The total dead would be 1.6 Billion. We have already eclipsed the total number of deaths in all the worlds wars, famines and pestilences combined. They equalled 720 Million.
The start of the second half of the tribulation begins when the people grow tired of this Antichrist. The bible tells us that he is then killed. The devil being the great copy cat of Jesus, then enters the lifeless body of the Antichrist and in three days raises him up. Now the Antichrist is quite literally the devil himself. At this point the Antichrist breaks the peace treaty with Israel and prepares the nations to attack and annihilate Israel completely. These wars will be the bloodiest, most destructive wars ever seen on the face of the earth. They will include nuclear warheads and mass invasions. The death tolls will be phenomenal. Along with this you now must face Gods wrath upon the world.
The second half begins, The sixth seal is broken:
A great earthquake hits the earth, like none before it. So powerful is this quake that the bible says this...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 late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
The seventh seal is broken:
"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." (Revelation 8:1-2)
For the sake of time I will list all seven of the trumpet judgements and briefly describe what each one means.
The First Trumpet
The first trumpet judgement is hail and fire mingled with blood which is cast upon the earth, burning up a third of the trees and all green grass.
The Second Trumpet
The second trumpet judgement is a huge flaming meteorite cast into the sea which contaminates the sea and turns it into blood, killing a third of all the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships.
The Third Trumpet
The third trumpet judgement is a great star also a meteorite called Wormwood which falls from heaven upon a third part of the rivers and freshwater streams and springs on earth, killing many because the waters were made poison.
The Fourth Trumpet
The fourth trumpet judgement smites the sun and moon and stars causing darkness to fall upon a third part of the day and night. In other words smoke and ash cover the earth and block out most of the light.
After the fourth trumpet judgement an angel warns the inhabitants of earth that the worst is yet to come. The first four trumpet judgements were bad enough, but they will be nowhere near as devastating as the next three. This clearly refutes any teaching in the church that the seven trumpet judgements are not literal.
The Fifth Trumpet (Also known as the first woe)
Here an angel of God looses hordes of demon locusts upon the earth from the bottomless pit. These may be devils in Antichrist's time, having the appearance of locusts, but large and monstrous. Or they may be real locusts, but of an extraordinary size and monstrous shape, such as were never before seen on earth, sent to torment those who have not the sign (or seal) of God on their foreheads. They will torment earth's inhabitants for a period of five months, inflicting pain like scorpion bites. The pain is so terrible those inflicted will want to die, but cannot. The only ones the demon locusts cannot touch are the hundred and forty-four thousand Jews with the seal of God in their foreheads.
The sixth Trumpet (The second woe)
This Judgement is without a doubt the most controversial one in the book of Revelation. Many believe that this is the 200 million man army of China. I beg to differ! An army of 200 million, "two hundred thousand thousand" horsemen are described. It can be seen that these are not mere human soldiers, but Demonic Horsemen, because they are released from confinement, just as the Demonic Locusts of the previous Trumpet Judgment. Also, it would be a mistake to confuse the Sixth bowl Judgment's invading army of the "kings of the east" with the events of this Sixth Trumpet Judgment. Since these are demons and not humans, it is unnecessary to speculate where such a sizable army could be presently found. But still, it is interesting to note that the People's Republic of China claimed to have had a man-and-woman militia of 200 million, as far back as 1965 according to Time magazine, May 21, 1965. Every third person that remains alive on the Earth will be killed by these Demonic Horsemen, or more specifically, will be killed by their horses. And Scripture specifies the "fire", "smoke", and "brimstone" as "these three" by which a third of mankind is killed. Essentially, every third person in the world will be burned alive. The "brimstone" is the fuel, the "fire" is the combustion process, and the "smoke" is the exhaust; but, wicked men are the targets of the flame. "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). This will effectively wipe out another 1.6 Billion people. As the Sixth Trumpet Judgment proceeds toward the last few months of the Tribulation, the men that will repent, have done so and those who will not repent, are hardened.
The seventh Trumpet (The third woe)
In this judgment, we are shown that heaven is beginning to rejoice because they know the end is very near. They are rejoicing because God has been releasing His wrath on a sinful world and He is starting to extract His vengeance. However, the last part of the verse says that more lightnings, noises, thunderings, another earthquake and more hail is released upon the earth once again. However, these events are almost tame compared to what has just been occurring over the last set of trumpet judgments.
Now we come to the seven bowl judgements
The seven bowl judgements
The First Bowl
In this first judgment, God releases a very foul and loathsome sore or boil to come upon all the people who have the mark of the Beast. Notice that this plague is not released on any of His saints that are still living at this time.
The Second Bowl
In this next bowl judgment, God causes the entire sea to turn to blood and every living creature in the sea is killed as a result. Unlike the ancient plague that Moses brought upon the nation of Egypt, or the Second Trumpet Judgment of the Tribulation, where only the "third part of the sea became blood" (Revelation 8:8), the Second bowl Judgment will completely change the seas of the world into actual blood. Our beautiful planet, when viewed from space, is 70.8 percent covered by oceans and marginal seas, encompassing 139.4 million square miles, holding a volume of 329 million cubic miles of seawater, and appearing in rich shades of blue under patches, bands, and swirls of clouds. But, soon Almighty Gods fierce wrath will turn the planet's appearance into visible shades of red blood.
The Third Bowl
God now comes after all the rivers and springs and also turns them into blood. Also notice that an angel then makes the statement that the reason God is doing this is to pay back with vengeance those who have killed His prophets and saints. He says that God is now giving them blood to drink since these people spilled the blood of His saints and that this is now their just due.
The Fourth Bowl
Rebellious Earth dwellers are the target of the Fourth bowl Judgment, for none but the wicked remain on the planet at this time. In this instance, Earth's Sun is the vehicle chosen by God to make the required impression. 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.
The Fifth Bowl
God goes directly after the Antichrist along with his kingdom. God causes total darkness to fall upon his kingdom. This verse also tells us that the people are still being plagued by the boils and sores from the first bowl judgment, and that they are in extreme pain because of all of this. And once again, even after this judgment falls, these people are still refusing to repent and turn to the Lord. Unbelievable!
The Sixth Bowl
In this next judgment, two things will happen. The Euphrates river is allowed to dry up so as to prepare the way for the kings of the east to come for the last and final battle. The battle of Armageddon. The kings of the east are China and several other Asian nations.
The second thing that occurs is that three demons, who proceed out of the mouths of the Devil, the Antichrist and False Prophet, are allowed by God to go out to all of the kings of the earth to bring them to the battle of Armageddon. Now you will have the largest army ever assembled. It will be made up of many nations, China and other asian nations, and many of the European Union nations.
The Seventh Bowl
This next judgment is the last and final judgment. Early in this verse the words, "it is done," are shouted out. In this judgment, the greatest and most severe earthquake that has ever hit our planet will strike! And then to top it all off, great hailstones weighing about 100 pounds apiece will be launched at this earth!
This earthquake is so massive, that every island flees away and the mountains are no longer found. It says that cities of the nations fell, but it doesn't specifically tell us which cities these are going to be. It is apparent that the Global Earthquake of the Seventh bowl Judgment will cause the destruction of the islands throughout the world. This will occur through the action of tsunamis as well as the earthquake itself. Fast moving tsunami waves moving through deep water will increase in amplitude as they approach the shallow waters near land. The onrush of water, especially around bays and inlets, will cause the greatest amount of immediate destruction around the low-lying ground of such inlets. Islands will not only be catastrophically damaged by the waves, but the volcanic earthquakes that initially formed some islands, e.g., the Hawaiian Islands, will permanently destroy them or alter their existence. Just as volcanoes and earthquakes were responsible for the formation of much of the world's mountains, they will now be responsible for their destruction,
Christ Returns With The Saints For The Battle of Armageddon
The Battle of Armageddon
The word Armageddon has been used by the media many times, but the Apostle John, in the book of Revelation, uses it only one time. The original word from the Bible is Ar Magedon which literally means "mount of Megiddo" -- a city from which only ancient ruins remain. The ruins are located in northern Israel by the Kishon River on the southern edge of the plain of Esdraelon, south of Haifa. This area seems to be where the Battle of Armageddon will take place.
Half of the city of Jerusalem will go into captivity; then the Lord, who has been so patient, will declare it to be enough. Then shall appear the Lord Jesus Christ coming in all the glory of heaven and all the holy angels with Him, to destroy the Antichrist and his one-world empire in the awesome Battle of Armageddon.
The kings of the East will find easy-going on the way to the battlefields of Armageddon as they march to their doom in this last great conflict. Once there they will engage in mortal combat, and millions will fall in battle. From this we see that the "Allied Armies" of Antichrist will cover the whole of Palestine, and so great shall be the slaughter, that, in the valleys and hollows, all over the whole of Palestine, for the length of Palestine as far south as Bozrah is 1600 furlongs or 200 miles, the blood shall be up to the horses' bridles.
And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
This will mark the end of man's cruel rule on earth, as Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and His Heavenly forces take over the World to rule and reign the way it should have been, if man had not disobeyed God and gone his own selfish way!
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