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A Crash Course on the Coming Tribulation Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2024 12:00 am

A Crash Course on the Coming Tribulation Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 8, 2024 12:00 am

Today, Stephen Davey begins a groundbreaking study on one of the most anticipated and debated events in biblical prophecy—the Rapture and the Tribulation. Dive into the biblical truth behind these events, understanding God's wrath and the timeline of His plan. Discover what will happen right before the Rapture, and why we believe it happens before the Tribulation.

Key takeaway: The Bible describes future events so that we can be informed, motivated, and prepared for what lies ahead.

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Dr. Stephen Davey
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Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
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When you read the book of Revelation, what's the main lesson that you should take away?

What's the key truth? God will literally keep his promise and his program in place. His literal promise and program of a kingdom. His literal promise and program of judgment. His literal promise and program for Israel's redemption.

His literal promise and program of an earthly reign. Listen, the tribulation reveals over and above everything. If you want to have one categorical revelation, it is that God keeps his word. I wonder, have you ever felt overwhelmed by global uncertainty or a sense of impending doom? It's easy to fall into despair, but the Bible offers both sobering prophecies and incredible hope. Beginning today, Stephen will unpack the coming tribulation as outlined in Revelation. It's a period of immense suffering, but it leads to God's ultimate victory. Discover what prophecy teaches us about the future and the importance of spiritual readiness.

Stay tuned as Stephen Davey unwraps a powerful biblical message about end time events. There is an uneasiness in our country these last few years of my own generation that I think everybody feels. We've watched, in the last two years, a lot of rogue nations acquire sophisticated weaponry that threaten the balance of world powers. In the past months, we've listened to political leaders boast of their growing nuclear capabilities. Diplomacy in the Middle East is attempting one more time to reconcile the irreconcilable.

We've listened to leaders predict the danger of Earth running out of natural resources and a coming ecological crisis. The rise of the Far East is interesting to watch just in the last couple of years now with more than 200 million military personnel. Currency reserves for the land of China, which by the way are growing at the rate of 30 million dollars an hour. That's what my interest rate is doing, by the way, just so you know.

How about yours? Their exploding economy is funding a war machine that insiders are admitting is being prepared for war. The European Union continues to emerge as a growing world power and prospects of global governance, which is their motto, sort of the ongoing cry of the United Nations. Add to that our own health, the National Institute of Health. Infectious diseases, according to them, remain the leading cause of death worldwide. I've been in countries in Africa where AIDS will literally wipe out the entire population of a country in the next 10 to 15 years.

Diseases thought to be obsolete have once again become a global threat, including the antibiotic resistant strain of tuberculosis, which has just surfaced again in our country and others. If there were ever times you could call troubled, these would be those times. And I think most people, even the average Joe on the street, feels it. I found it interesting to read the results of the U.S. News and World Report, which revealed that 66 percent of Americans, it's quite high, including at least one third of them who never attend church, believe the world is going to end in the near future. Not exactly optimistic, are we? Whether or not any of the current crises have anything to do with the ending of the church age, we do not know.

But one thing is certain. We are experiencing today, and what we are experiencing is nothing compared to the coming global crisis that will hit this planet sometime in the future. Just when it will arrive, no one knows. We make a lot about things that seem to indicate it's just around the corner, which is okay. We love the thought and talk of his appearing.

This period of crises is known as the tribulation period. And we're about to begin our study in the book of Revelation where we discover all that it will mean to planet earth and the human race. I invite your attention back to the book of Revelation. And if you were with us in our study in chapter 5, we celebrated with the redeemed and the hosts of heaven. You remember by singing, worthy is the land that was slain.

And in fact, we played the role of the angelic beings who shouted, amen, amen, amen. It's true. It's true.

It's the truth. He is worthy of all might and blessing and honor and glory. Now the scene shifts as it were from heaven to earth. That will happen over and over again through the book of Revelation as John records the most amazing and horrifying events that will occur on planet earth known as this tribulation period. So in Revelation 6 verse 1, John opens by saying he watched the lamb.

He's again being the eyewitness for us. He watches the lamb open the scroll at its first seal. It will unroll it, each seal revealing a little bit more of God's wrath on earth. The opening of this first seal signals the beginning of the tribulation, the hour of testing.

It was called in Revelation 3, 10 from which the church has been promised relief. What I thought I'd do is cover the first four seals in chapter 6 pictured as four horsemen in verses 1 to 8. Then as I studied further, I realized I'd only be able to cover verse 1 of chapter 6. After further study, I realized all I have time to do is introduce chapter 6. So what I want to do is expound the space on the space between chapter 5 and chapter 6.

That space there says an awful lot. In fact, we're going to call this simply a crash course on the tribulation and answer 13 or 14 questions that set the stage so that we can understand more fully what it means when this first seal is opened. I can tell you after going through this already one time, it is a crash course. It is fast.

That's why I'm going to use the screens, which I don't particularly like to use. I want to do that just to help you keep up. You're going to hear about a lot of terms that may be new to you. You're going to hear about amillennialism, the belief of no kingdom, postmillennialism that we're just sort of going to meld into a new era, premillennialism, which we are that believes the coming of Christ will precede the millennial kingdom, pretribulationalism, which believes the rapture will occur before the tribulation, and then Christ returning before the kingdom. See, I can just tell it.

That's all right. These terms are going to be terms you'll hear now in this crash course and then over the course of weeks together studying the tribulation, they'll begin to make more and more sense. Question number one, what exactly is the tribulation?

Well, I would summarize and define it this way. It's a time of unparalleled human suffering, demonic boldness, cosmic disturbance, Jewish awakening, gospel preaching, and global crises. You could use as a categorical term for the tribulation the simple phrase, the wrath of God revealed.

It might be the simplest way to think of it. For several years, the earth will literally stagger like a drunk man under the weight of God's enormous wrath. The first five chapters of Revelation reveal the sovereignty of Christ in the church. These chapters will reveal the severity of Christ in his chastisement as we've outlined the book of Revelation. One author said that the tribulation is hell on earth and in a way is true. The term tribulation covers the entire seven years, but the term great tribulation is used by our Lord to describe the last half of the tribulation period.

That's important to understand. There are those, by the way, that believe that the rapture will occur at that halfway point, that midway point or around the midway point believing in what they call the pre-wrath rapture, only one more view to tuck away. The problem with that is found in its title. In fact, the title pre-wrath rapture exposes one of the primary flaws of their views since the first three and a half years are certainly experiencing the wrath of God. It would be anything less than that, that Christ referred to the first three and a half years as labor pains. Try telling your wife as she begins labor, honey, really not feeling anything. It's no problem.

She does. I don't know how to have the four horsemen of Revelation 6 in the first part or half of the tribulation viewed as any other way as expressions of God's terrifying wrath and horrifying conditions on the planet in which one quarter of the world's population will die. That's an expression of God's wrath. The term tribulation, I believe, covers the entire seven years, the first part being labor pains, the second part being known as the great tribulation. Question number two, when does the tribulation begin?

Well, that's a little like asking when does the rapture occur? Speculation abounds, which I'm going to solve right now, one word. Here's the word, write it down, soon. That's the word. That's all we need to know.

That's all that the Lord has given us, soon. In fact, you could write the word sooner, sooner than ever. I can remember, I've lived long enough now to remember arguments going back to the 70s. Some of you can remember arguments that went back even before then. I can remember graduating from high school in 1976, hearing passionate arguments about how it was going to happen, you know, the rapture in 1976. I remember arguments for 1988, and 1989, and 1992, and the year 2000.

You remember that one? Many people were saying it's going to happen at the year 2000, that's going to trigger it all. And more recently, the fall of 2006. All these books were published and all these men wrote and speculated and gave their opinions. All I can say is all these prophecy experts have one thing in common, gratitude that they're not treated like Old Testament prophets.

One mistake, and that's it. One book published in 1917, in my research uncovered, made headlines as it attempted to prove that events leading up to World War I could only mean the tribulation was going to occur then. 25 years later, a group of authors observed the rise of Hitler and said that he fit perfectly the description of Antichrist.

Still others have made arguments for Mussolini, they made arguments for Joseph Stalin, Henry Kissinger, and I've heard some even with Bill Clinton. I don't think any of those are true, by the way. I believe the scriptures reveal the tribulation period beginning sometime after the rapture of the church. There are some things that have to take place for the tribulation to begin, and I don't believe it begins immediately after the rapture of the church. From chapter six of Revelation onward, as the tribulation period unfolds, there is absolutely no reference to the church on earth.

Now based on what we've already studied in chapters four and five of Revelation, I believe the church age ended, and we've been worshiping the Lord now prior to these seals being opened with him in heaven, represented by the presbuteroi or the elders. Events such as the Bema Seat, some believe the marriage supper of the lamb, the rewarding of the saint, and the giving back of those rewards to the Lord take place with us in heaven while the tribulation is taking place on earth. So I say that to say the rapture is still in the future, obviously, because the church is still on the planet, so far as I can tell, and the tribulation is still then in the future because it can't occur until after the rapture. Now there are those who believe that the tribulation has already occurred, and they spiritualize much of the Bible prophecy relative to this period of time. They believe that we are currently living in the millennia period, the tribulation is past tense. A literal interpretation, however, of the text of scripture sort of revealed nothing in history as we know it could ever match all the events described by Christ in Matthew 24 and what we see unfolding in chapter 6 and onward. Furthermore, the antichrist cannot break his covenant with Israel in the middle of the tribulation unless the temple is standing.

Based on the pictures I have seen, there is no what? There is no temple yet for him to desecrate. Daniel chapter 9 clearly pictures the tribulation period beginning after the destruction of the current temple which occurred in AD 70. And then Daniel also clearly reveals that the antichrist will desecrate the temple that is yet to be rebuilt and he'll do it in a horrific way. So if the temple has not been rebuilt, the tribulation covenant between Israel and the antichrist cannot be signed and then broken by the desecration of the temple by this antichrist. Furthermore, Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 clearly places the desecration of the temple by the antichrist during the tribulation period.

The desecration of the temple was certainly, as others would point out, well that took place and I believe it was simply illustrated by Antiochus Epiphanes or Antiochus IV in 167 BC when he desecrated the temple. But Christ says that the desecration of the temple by the antichrist is still in the future when he's delivering this news to his disciples. Daniel 9 verse 27 is a key verse that informs us that the tribulation or the 70th week of Daniel will commence. It will be triggered by the signing of a covenant between antichrist and Israel.

Daniel also informs us that this temporary covenant of peace will be broken halfway through the tribulation period which will then trigger the last half known as the great tribulation where all of the horror and suffering of the first half is simply doubled and tripled in intensity. By the way, the peace covenant with the antichrist has nothing to do with the church. It has everything to do with Israel. And therein let me add this, one error which must be avoided in order to interpret these prophetic texts literally and understandably in my view is the error of identifying the church with Israel as our covenant friends do. It is impossible to me in taking prophecy at face value for the church to ever fulfill Israel's role during this time of purification and purging that we're going to see unveiled. The church would have to be literally located in the Near East. It would have to be ethnically Jewish and it would have to be reconstituted as a state which the church is none of these. The church is not Israel.

Israel is not the church although they are both key elements in God's unified program for history. According to Daniel's prophecy and what we're going to observe in Revelation chapter 6, the antichrist will come bringing peace primarily to the Middle East. Not the whole world, there will be those who will fight against them, but primarily to the Middle East and regions surrounding.

Which is what most of us however at this point would consider impossible. There's no way peace will ever come to the Middle East. One thing's for sure, not only the Middle East but the world at large is at this point in time longing to see it happen. Aren't we weary of one more headline?

That little strip of land is just constantly in the news. That is the hub it seems intuitively in the human heart for what is going to happen. And the feelings of pessimism so often relate to the Middle East. The world is longing I believe to hear the galloping hoof beats of this first horseman who brings peace even though it only lasts a brief period of time, primarily three and a half years into the tribulation. When I hear the president of Iran openly praying for the appearance and the coming of the twelfth imam that will usher in peace and justice, I cannot help but believe the world at large is more ready than ever for someone who will come and bring peace. In fact in our next session Lord willing I want to talk about the twelfth imam who embodies I believe the profile and the mission of the antichrist. Question number three. What is the purpose of the tribulation?

Let me give you several reasons fairly quickly. Several purposes. Number one, to ready Israel for the kingdom. Zachariah 13 records, listen to this, two thirds of the people in the land will be cut off and die, says the Lord.

But a third, relating this of course to Israel, will be left in the land. I will bring that group through the fire making them pure just as gold and silver are refined and purified by fire. They will call on my name then and I will answer them and I will say these are my people and they will say the Lord is our God.

Specific prophecy relating to Israel as it is readied for the coming of the king. Second, to remunerate humanity with just punishment. This is another purpose of the tribulation. If you can imagine the horrors of the tribulation, war, hail, fire, in fact a fireball from heaven at one point, oceans polluted, falling stars, darkness, sores on the bodies of those who follow the Antichrist, seas turning the blood, scorching heat and more and more and even still humanity will do what? Humanity will curse God.

You would think that they would fall on their knees and say it's obvious something's happening and repent as they hear the gospel but they will refuse and God will be seen as just as he reveals the depravity of mankind and the just desserts of sin. Another purpose, to reveal God's sovereignty over his creation. He will manipulate the universe. He will control the forces and use them to his will and purposes. You remember the Pharaoh of Egypt mocking God because he was refused, unleashed the plagues upon the land. In a similar yet far more reaching display of arrogance, the Antichrist will set himself against the God of heaven and God will, as it were, pour out his plagues which reveal his sovereign control of nature and creation, revealing that he is God alone. In fact, it becomes even more amazing that there will be continued unbelief.

Why? Because mankind will follow anyone but God. They will bow their knee to anyone but their creator. God will be seen as sovereign. Another purpose, to reveal Satan's true character and corruption. The tribulation will unmask him. No more angel of light. No more I've got a wonderful plan for you and you follow my guides and you can find divine enlightenment and you can have the life you've always wanted to have and everything that he is now currently teaching through his false teachers that basically makes you God and we've studied this at length in the past so I won't repeat it.

All that is now put aside. He's now referred to as the dragon. In fact, the red dragon, Revelation calls him, because of his lust for blood and killing. He doesn't care for humanity.

It's going to be unmasked in an unusual way, very clear way during the tribulation period. We cannot imagine his utter hatred for God, his utter hatred for God's creation, his utter hatred for humanity. He knows as we have sung that his doom is what? Sure, but he plunges ahead, motivated by his near insane hatred for God. In fact, John records in Revelation 12 verse 12 this amazing description of Satan's growing insanity.

Listen to this. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them. That's a reference to us. We're celebrating with him in heaven. Rejoice, but woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come in great wrath because he knows that his time is short.

Staggering statement. He's doing all of this because he knows his time is short. You would think he stops doing all of these things because he knows his time is short. That's like a prisoner on death row being told you have 60 minutes before you die, spending that 60 minutes railing against and cursing God. This is Satan unmasked in his corruption and character.

There's another purpose. It is to redeem a host of believers from around the world. Imagine the implication of those who are martyred that we'll look at in chapter 7. They're martyred during the tribulation. They've come to faith in Christ after the rapture during the tribulation, and they're martyred by the millions, by the forces of antichrist and have been killed by him because they announced and would not recant of their allegiance to Jesus Christ. It will be bloodshed like no other time for those who follow after Christ, but there will be this redemptive portion of the tribulation, and a host of believers will be added. One final purpose of the tribulation.

This isn't comprehensive by the way, but this is all we'll deal with today. It is to revive Israel for her messiah. This is the fulfillment of Romans chapter 11 where Paul speaks with confidence at the faithfulness and completion of God's election of Israel as he announces that the remnant of Israel will be saved. It's amazing that Israel is still around even today. The Jews still exist. It strikes me. Isn't it interesting? Have you ever met a Philistine? Have you ever met a Hittite?

I haven't. But Jews exist, which is part of this ethnic Israel that God allows to continue to exist. He will revive them. He will reconstitute them and redeem them. In fact, Zachariah, taken at face value in its plainest sense, records that at the end of this purifying time, what we know as the tribulation, after the nations are destroyed who come against Jerusalem, they that is the redeemed nation of Israel will look upon him whom they, what?

Pierced. They are revived and prepared for their messiah. Today you've seen how the Bible describes an unparalleled time of global crisis.

The tribulation. So ask yourself this question. If the warnings are true, am I prepared? Is my heart right with God? Am I sharing the hope of Christ with others? If you have questions or want to know more, visit This message was significantly longer than what we could fit into a single broadcast.

So we'll bring you the second half next time. You've tuned in to Wisdom for the Heart and this is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. Today's message began a series through the great tribulation called Four Horsemen and the Coming World Madness.

We'll spend the next several days looking at the great tribulation and I hope you'll be with us for all of it. I want you to be aware that Stephen has a resource you might be interested in. It's a booklet that he's written entitled The Coming Tribulation. In it, Stephen provides insight into this future time. It's a booklet that's easy to share with others who might be confused about end time prophecy. During this current series, we're offering this booklet at a significantly discounted rate. If you'd like information on Stephen's booklet, The Coming Tribulation, give us a call right now at 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253. Call today, then join us next time to discover more Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-08 00:11:10 / 2024-05-08 00:20:40 / 10

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