People do not have to go through the Great Tribulation to end up in eternal hell. This is a message we are to preach. So what do I say to the unbeliever when he engages me about Jesus Christ? This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Gospel of Mark. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about his work.
and information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in Mark chapter 13 as he begins a new study called After That Tribulation. This message is entitled After That Tribulation.
And as I was walking up, I thought to myself, perhaps a better title would be Between the Lines. Because how do you read such a short section of scripture and not have many questions? What is he talking about? This is cataclysmic.
What is going on here? Four verses this morning because with remarkable brevity, Christ marks his return to us. He says, when I'm coming back, this is what's going to happen. And then he's going to move on to other things concerning the end times in Israel, which we'll get in the coming days if we're still here.
But between these lines are cataclysmic events and great carnage. Who can read it without being provoked to investigate more? I have a lot of scripture verses to read to you this morning in cross-reference, to cross-reference, unlike anything we've ever known. Will you believe it? Do we believe these things are going to actually happen? Isaiah, writing about the Messiah in the beginning of Isaiah 53, he says, who has believed our report?
These are heavy things. Noah warned and they scoffed and they smirked and they mocked him. They observed and possibly participated in the building of the ark. Still they did not believe. They did not receive. Peter writes, he says, once the divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls were saved. Eight out of how many?
Only eight believed. Peter writes again in his second letter, Noah, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly. My point is that we preach these end time things for a reason, not to satisfy the curiosity of our listeners or ourselves, but to preach Christ for conviction for the salvation of souls, to destroy the works of the devil.
What better way to destroy what Satan does than to lead someone to heaven, to be used by God to save souls? Covering a multitude of sins, James writes, but they paid no attention to Noah's preaching. That ark of Noah was a pulpit for 120 years. Every sound that went into its construction was a sermon. Every tree that fell to build that ark was a representation of death coming.
And still the best they could do was scoff and mock and smirk and not believe. And we are faced with the identical situations in our life. However, there will be more than eight souls who will be saved because of what the church does. Jesus talking about this very thing in Luke's gospel in the 17th chapter, he says, as it was in the days of Noah, so it will also be in the days of the Son of Man.
They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. You see the significance of reading about end times? Jesus saw it. In these last few days of his life on earth, he used a tremendous amount of scripture. And everything that he spoke to these people, every answer, everything he said was so packed with scripture. That was its foundation. He continues, likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot.
They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built. But on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Lot is a type of the New Testament church that is raptured out before the judgment falls. And then Christ adds this, even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Folks are going to see the ark being built through our testimony and our churches and our preaching, although that is shrinking drastically in these last of the last days, as apostasy continues to sweep the church. People in pulpits don't even believe the Bible, pretending that they're Christians.
I don't know how you do that and I don't think God knows how you can do that either. The rapture of the church, the return of Christ, the great tribulation period. And that statement from Luke, Christ treats it all as a single event. He says, even so it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. What will be all these end time things?
He just lumps them in together. Even though they're separated by seven years, the rapture of the church, the end of the great tribulation period and his return, all of this is part of the day of the Lord that goes into the millennial reign, to its end actually. We are preaching as Noah that the end is near enough. If you have not yet given your life to Christ, then you must understand that God expects more and he expects better from you. If you've not opened your heart to Jesus Christ who died for sinners, then you're outside of God's will. But he doesn't expect you to stay outside of God's will, though he knows the end from the beginning.
His great expectation is his great hope and desire built in love to come to him. Moses told the Jewish people, choose life. Joshua said, serve the Lord.
Elijah said, how long do you halt between two opinions? Make up your mind. If you're going to serve Yahweh, serve Yahweh. If you're going to serve Baal, serve Baal. But make up your mind.
You can't do them both. This was the message of the great prophets of our Bible. God gave them that message.
They were saying to the people, you should know better. And we're preaching the same thing to this day. You should know better. You know what sin is. You know sin is harmful. You do not like to be the victim of sin. So don't go pretending that sin is something to be trivialized and take the shame out of it. Sickness and death, violence, everything we hate in life is a product of sin.
People do not have to go through the great tribulation to end up in eternal hell. This is a message we are to preach. So what do I say to the unbeliever when he engages me about Jesus Christ? I have to be ready. I have to give the Holy Spirit something to shoot.
No bullets, no bang. And that's why you are encouraged to stay in the word of God, whether you are in the mood or out of the mood. Stay in the word of God and God will use you. As I read from scripture about what's coming, all of us should again ask ourselves, do we believe it? Jesus had to tell John, we were just singing, the words that I'm telling you, they are faithful and they are true. And John needed to hear that.
It's so astounding, the things that were revealed to him. And the Lord said, write it down and believe it, because it's going to happen just like I said it. Now we look at verse 24 and Christ says, But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. But in those days, typical of predictive prophecy, prophecy is telling the future. There are different tenses of prophecy, but this one is predictive. Merging multiple events together to confuse the timeline for us.
Not intentional, but that's what it does. When he says, but in those days, how much information is in what days? What is happening there after that tribulation? It seems, well, if the tribulation is over, why are things still going in a catastrophic way? The sun will be darkened, I thought it was over. He's talking about the tribulation without him visibly on earth.
That part is ending and he's going to wrap the whole thing up. Unfulfilled prophecy has many silhouettes. There's just things that are just more, you know, you can't make out the details yet. It comes, prophecy does, with revealing concepts too difficult to comprehend since much of it doesn't even exist. Yet, when Christ gave his prophecy, so much of what he said was foreign to these people. For instance, the New Testament church, when they said, Lord, you see these stones? And he says, not one will stay upon another.
And he goes on to lay out what's going to happen. They have no concept of the New Testament church as we know it. Gentiles leading the church for God for over 2,000 years. So how do you give details about that?
Because it doesn't exist in their heads. It would be almost blasphemous to suggest that somebody other than the chosen people would actually be chosen to breathe the light of the world. As Jesus said, you're the salt of the earth.
You're the light of the world. He drafts us. He recruits us.
He makes us like himself in that regard. And so, in time, as event fulfillment stacks up, we get an improved understanding. Here, in this section, when he says, but in those days, again, lumping in the rapture, the great tribulation, and the second coming, all blended together, near impossible for them to grasp. What do they know about the rapture? They can't even believe in the resurrection yet.
They're still struggling with that. That he's actually going to be murdered in public and then get up. Well, they're going to find out in a few days about that part of it.
These predictions were obscure, but they will fade in every age. The essentials are known. In spite of the obscurity of prophecy, we get the point.
It's the details that we have to work out. And in those details is our message that comes from so much work. Lining these things up, we look at the end time story and we find out that there is going to be horrific events on earth, but the righteous will survive, ultimately in heaven, even at the cost of many believers' lives, as there will be in the great tribulation, believers being beheaded. God is very upfront about these things. So to his disciples, for them, everything was centered on Israel in their thinking. They could not think globally.
They just thought in the promised land and mainly in Jerusalem. How could he say to any of them that there are going to be radios and televisions and an internet? How could he say man is going to harness electricity, put lightning in a bottle?
What's a bottle? I mean, just beyond them, there are going to be microwaves and central air conditioning and interstates and plastic. And they could not grasp it. And so that's why many of the prophecies are in fragments and symbols. And as, again, event fulfillment takes place, the obscurity fades, we get a better picture. Even in the days of the Crusaders, there were things that they just could not understand about end time prophecy, and so much of it was allegory. The allegory was an accurate application many times, but it was not the exact fulfillment of what was being said. And so he says, but in those days, starting from the rapture, which they could not know about, through the covenant with the seven-year covenant with the Antichrist that is broken, and then his return, he says, after that tribulation. And we pause there. We go back to verse 24. But in those days, after that tribulation.
Oh, this could be a lot of information for some of you, but you have to start somewhere. You have to get your appetite going somewhere. And if you black out during the message, that's all right.
We'll make sure we get you out before the lights are turned off. After that tribulation, God finishes the great tribulation, which is judgment and wrath on the earth. That is what it is.
There's no way to spin it and put a bow on it and make it something other than it is. That's why it is called a great tribulation. We never forget Christ has this way with understatement. He says things that don't sound so important or so serious or so dramatic, but yet they are.
Everything he says is dramatic. And he is going to return with a dramatic display of his sovereignty. Matthew 24, verse 27, For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.
That's pretty intense. Now the coming of the Son of Man refers to the second coming all the time and not the rapture of the church. He comes for his church with the rapture.
He comes back with his church seven years later. And so these events that we're talking about here, and as we finish chapter 13 and the coming Sundays, we're not dealing with the rapture. We're dealing with the great tribulation period, events leading up to that period, and then of course after that period. So Daniel's week, when he says after that tribulation, Daniel's 70th week is going to end, which will then issue in the thousand year reign of Christ from Jerusalem.
He says the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. So in preparation for this, what is my mission? What is my objective as a pastor?
Not to tickle your ears with fascinating things, though I hope it's interesting. The goal is always to equip, to build up and equip us for the work of ministry. And ministry goes beyond the walls of the church building and it goes into the world. How else are they going to get these things? Can you preach end times to an unbeliever?
Absolutely! If you explain it, if you clarify, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. Visible cosmic disturbance, a dysfunctional universe it seems they're going to be faced with. He's quoting Isaiah the prophet. I mentioned his scriptures all over his words. Isaiah chapter 13 verse 10, For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light.
The sun will be darkened in its going forth and the moon will not cause its light to shine. Now there can be some very practical reason for that because there's going to be a whole lot of war going on. And where there is war, there is smoke. And the Lord used very significant, as I mentioned, a very significant amount of scripture. Isaiah and Joel, Joel came before Isaiah. Joel writes so much about the end times, the last days. Joel chapter 2, And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of Yahweh. And that's what we're talking about.
Zechariah ramps it up, way up. And this shall be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem. Now he's using that word plague in the same sense that Moses' plague struck Egypt. These are judgments. They come from God. They are not coincidences.
They are deliberate and they are divine. He continues Zechariah, Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet. Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.
That's gross. I mean, this is nuclear or some variation thereof. Ezekiel 39, now okay, again, Ezekiel chapter 39, I believe is Antichrist coming to power. That little horn that struggles and exalts itself. And then the 39th chapter of Ezekiel's prophecies deals with Armageddon, that final battle which begins on earth and is ended by heaven. We'll come to that as we go through this morning. But Ezekiel 39, talking about the end of the great tribulation period, which Zechariah was talking about also. Now listen to this.
I mentioned nuclear or some sort of biological or chemical warfare, something going on that we already have these kinds of things. He says the search party will pass through the land and when anyone sees a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it till the barriers have buried it in the valley of Hamangog. The name of the city will also be Hamanah, thus they shall cleanse the land. Alright, so let's get those odd words out of the way. Hamangog, literally the multitude of Gog.
Gog being the spiritual forces behind the enemy of the Jewish people that shows up in the leaders who are coming against Israel. I know they go into, you know, Rosh means Russia and Meshech and I disagree with them and I'm not alone. You'll need to know that I'm not alone unless you think I'm going off on my own things. There are times I like to be alone when I have a lot of ice cream, for example.
I just like to be left alone. But anyway, remember they did not believe the preaching of Noah and it happened. Will they believe us? Well, it's really not up to us to get too much into that. What is important is that we're listening to the Holy Spirit, that we're ready. We're armed and ready. From Satan's view, may we be armed and dangerous in open carry. That we're not hiding our faith. We do not have a concealed Christianity right now. Some of our brothers do and brothers and sisters, they're being persecuted. They cannot be out in the open with their faith. They can. Listen, if they can be out in the open with their sexual perversity, why can we not be out in the open with a God who is the solution to perversity?
It's very basic. Everybody understands that. Even the unbeliever gets that. The armies of the Far East will mobilize in rebellion against Antichrist and the West. Antichrist will be very powerful. At some point in the Great Tribulation toward the end, at the end as a matter of fact, the Battle of Armageddon, the military forces of the East will come. Revelation 16, 12.
Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates and its water was dried up so that the way of the kings from the East might be prepared. Now Antichrist, as he's going to deal with this new threat, that he is still determined to wipe out any remaining Jews that he can find and anybody who converts to Christ. But he will have to mobilize, he and the West, to meet this threat nonetheless.
And that will set the stage for Armageddon, where Christ will wipe out all of the unbelievers coming against. Well, there will be some survivors, but it comes down to ground troops in Israel, conventional warfare. Why not just send missiles and blow them to smithereens?
Because of the technology. The Iron Dome, which will even be further developed. Scud missiles, we saw scud missiles going in or being fired by Saddam Hussein and we had Patriot missile defenses that shot them down. And so the armies coming against Israel are going to be very reluctant to fire these things into Israel lest they be exploded over their own heads. And so they're going to have to send troops on the ground. And that's why you have this conventional warfare in the Valley of Megiddo that is 50 years ago, or maybe 30 or so, you might have said, well, it doesn't make any sense with all the weapons we have today. Why not just fire an endless amount of Trident missiles into Israel? Well, there's the answer.
There are ways to stop those things and force a ground confrontation. Revelation 13, 4, this is speaking about how successful Antichrist has been in defeating the armies of the world. So they worship the dragon who gave authority to the beast and they worship the beast saying, who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? You say, well, how can I use a verse like that to share the faith?
Very easily. You say, listen, you see the human nature? They're so impressed with things they can see. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the Book of Mark. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the Book of Mark like here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-05 18:17:34 / 2023-08-05 18:26:36 / 9