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A Crash Course on the Coming Tribulation Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
May 9, 2024 12:00 am

A Crash Course on the Coming Tribulation Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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May 9, 2024 12:00 am

Stephen Davey continues his in-depth exploration of the Tribulation. Discover the profound purpose behind this time of intense trial, from preparing Israel for Christ's Kingdom to redeeming believers worldwide. Learn about the seals, the horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the hope that shines through despite the suffering.

Key takeaway: Even in the midst of judgment, God's faithfulness and justice are unyielding, and His promises will be fulfilled.

Want to learn more? Head over to Wisdom Online (https://www.wisdomonline.org) for additional resources and deeper exploration into God's prophetic Word.

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Even in the face of pending doom, some people remain obstinate in the rejection of God and His Gospel. But imagine that a worldwide message delivered by this heavenly herald sent on a worldwide tour in every language of every human being going to every village, every person, because of this grace of God miraculously hears the Gospel. And what will they do? Many will say no.

We don't want Him. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart. Yesterday Stephen Davey began a lesson called A Crash Course in the Coming Tribulation.

We weren't able to complete that message during yesterday's broadcast, so today we're going to do a little bit of review and then conclude that message. The Tribulation is a literal period of seven years in which God brings judgment upon those who have rejected Him. Lots of questions surround the Tribulation. The Bible may not tell you everything you'd like to know, but it does tell you quite a bit. And that's what we're studying today. Keep listening.

Question number four. Did the prophets say anything about the Tribulation? Well, if you take the prophecies literally with what we know about the New Testament, the answer is a clear yes.

But none of the prophets foresaw all of the elements of this Tribulation. In fact, they often spoke of the Messiah's coming and the establishing of His kingdom as a single event. That's why the disciples kept asking, you're going to establish a kingdom now? Now?

You're going to do this now? They saw, what the prophets had said, oftentimes those two together. We now know that there's been a gap of at least 2,000 years between His first coming and His second coming to establish the kingdom.

This is the mystery. And we have been given the epistles and especially Paul's writings to deliver to us the fuller picture in this progressive revelation of what this church age is all about, which the prophets knew nothing of. This is the mystery, Paul writes, which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now to you the church is manifested. Romans chapter 16 verses 25 and 26. The key then is to understand what we know of the New Testament, take it at face value, go back into the Old Testament and understand exactly the things that they mentioned. And you'll find many prophetic announcements of what we know to be the time of Tribulation. The prophet Joel will speak of this conversion of Israel as a people. The prophet Amos refers to divine wrath and a coming Gentile world power. The prophet Isaiah speaks also of the conversion of the nation or people of Israel. He speaks of cosmic disturbances which have not yet happened but will happen as we know it at the close of the Tribulation especially.

He speaks also, Isaiah does, of the regal appearance of Christ. Zachariah speaks of the salvation of the Gentiles, this mass conversion by millions of Gentiles from every tribe, tongue, language, people, group, and the appearance of Christ. In fact, Daniel and Zachariah put together, inform us of several key prophetic elements of the Tribulation. They give us the length of the Tribulation, the coming of Satan's prince, the Antichrist, the desecration of the temple during this Tribulation period, the coming world empire ruled over by the Antichrist, and the conclusion of the Tribulation by the appearance of the king, Christ. I find it interesting, by the way, ladies and gentlemen, to find that even those who disagree with our premillennial position agree with each other that by interpreting Old Testament prophecies literally, taking them at face value, you are naturally led to a belief in the coming of Christ and the existence of a literal millennial reign, the implication of a time of purification of Israel through the Tribulation prior to that kingdom. One of those authors, an amillennialist, Floyd Hamilton, said this, and I quote him, we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies give us a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the premillennialist pictures, end quote.

A postmillennialist, Lorraine Betner, agrees and writes, and I quote, it is generally agreed that if the prophecies are taken literally, they do foretell a restoration of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine with the Jews having a prominent place in that kingdom and ruling over the other nations. Interesting, and that's right. My question would simply be, why not take them at face value? Why not interpret them literally? Why convolute the text and spiritualize away so much of it whenever you come to a prophetic image of the Tribulation and the kingdom? We don't have to change the rules of interpretation when confronted with prophetic scripture. We don't have to bite our nails and break out in a sweat and creatively spiritualize away the text. We don't have to find World War I in the book of Revelation or World War II and the Great Depression in there. Take them at face value and they, I believe, make the best sense.

Question number five. Did Jesus Christ say anything about the Tribulation, period? Did he ever? His sermon in Matthew chapter 24 is called by many the little apocalypse. The miniature revelation because of the clear connection between what he preached and what we will see unfolding in Revelation chapter 6.

In fact, all you have to do is compare his sermon in Matthew 24, the Mount Olivet Discourse, with Revelation chapter 6 and you have a wonderful commentary. Together they fill in so many of the details of what is going to happen as these seven seals are opened. In Matthew 24, for instance, verse 4 and 5, the Lord warns of those false Christs who will come to lead many astray. And that corresponds perfectly with the first seal where the spirit of Antichrist will gallop, as the first horseman, deceiving many. Next, the Lord refers to global war in verse 6 of chapter 24 and the first part of verse 7. And he says there will be wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, certainly the history of humanity has been one war after another and yet it will intensify in this period of time. And again that corresponds perfectly with the next seal opened by the Lamb in Revelation chapter 6 verse 4 where people will slay one another as that temporary peace is removed from the earth. Next, the Lord goes on to mention famine in his sermon in verse 7, corresponding with the following seal in Revelation 6 which tells us that food will be so scarce that even the smallest bit of it will cost a fortune. We'll stop with that much but we'll cover these details in later days. I'm not stopping my sermon, I'm just going to stop that particular graph, okay? The Lord speaks of the tribulation, by the way, being in two parts just as Daniel indicates. The first three and a half years witness the opening of the first four seals.

The second three and a half years witness the intensifying of horrors as especially new believers are persecuted by the antichrist. Alright, question number 6 and we're almost halfway through this crash course. How you doing? Okay, forget I asked. Alright, let's go to question number 6.

Here we go. Why did Christ warn the disciples about the tribulation? Why would he warn them saying you, you're going to see this, you're going to see that when it didn't happen and they've since died?

Perhaps it's proof that it's not going to happen. Well, if you take that approach, there are so many scriptures referring to you that don't happen to them as the first hearer. In fact, a similar question would be asked about Isaiah's prophecy and his warning in chapter 39 of the coming Babylonian captivity. It didn't occur until after everybody who heard Isaiah had died. But this would be a warning that sin has consequences and God would eventually keep his promise. They did enter captivity and just as well, Matthew 24 will come to pass.

It is a warning to every generation. Every generation is given this warning that sin has consequences and God will keep his promises. Consider as well the fact that the Bible is going to survive through the tribulation, right? Think of how meaningful it will be to those who hear the gospel to be able to go and say, oh, that's happening right now. I'm in the middle of that and many will repent and follow after Christ.

Even the specific times for each seal and trumpet and bowl are not provided and the exact moment of Christ's return to Jerusalem is impossible to pinpoint. The Bible will deliver the basic general word of truth and I can only imagine what this would mean to those in the tribulation reading the book of Revelation. Question number seven, is unleashing the tribulation on one generation fair?

We ought to just put that out and ask the question. In other words, is it really fair that this one generation gets the truckload of judgment backed up to it and bang, here you go. It's as if God's been storing it all up and finally you get it.

Here's the truck. Well, for one thing, you need to understand that this generation will have more knowledge, more signs, more opportunities to respond to God's witness than any previous generation. It's one thing for you to hear me deliver the news and preach. It would be another thing to hear a miraculous witness of someone that is impossible to put to death. In fact, it's interesting that God's judgment through these seals, trumpets and bowls, intensifies as the rebellion of mankind in this generation intensifies. Beyond that, remember that God's patience and his forbearance with earlier generations does not exempt any generation and this generation from experiencing his judgment in this final hour. And one more note, every unbeliever in every previous generation is currently, while these things are happening in Revelation, experiencing the torment of Hades. In fact, I believe every one of them would love to be released from Hades to experience the horrors of the tribulation because they will in no way be anywhere near the horror of that understanding and torment. Question number eight, how long is the tribulation?

Let me cover it again. It informs us that it lasts for seven years. Remember as well that the Lord divided it in his sermon into two sections. The first section is referring to birth pains and the second he calls the great tribulation where it's intensified.

The entire tribulation is an ongoing series of judgments. We have seven seals. The seventh seal embodies the seven trumpets.

The seventh trumpet embodies the seven bowls. Each section, like birth pains, grow greater and greater in intensity. This is the Lord's metaphor for the growing intensity of his judgment. The kingdom will be birthed in Israel, as it were, through the pain of Israel's tribulation. Question number nine, what tribulation pain and terror unfolds first?

We're given very clear instruction, as we'll see in our next session. We have these four rather famous horsemen, the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The first one rides a white horse, representing the deception of antichrists. The second rider appears on a red horse, representing the destructiveness of global war.

Then there's the black horse, which represents the devastation of famine. Finally, the pale horse gallops throughout the world, prefiguring the disease and death of untold millions of people. In fact, we know that one fourth of the world's population will be killed near the outset of the tribulation, at least in the first two or three years. Imagine what that would mean today. Our world's current population, based on that, would mean that 1.6 billion people will die in about 24 to 36 months. Imagine if that's true in those statistics in America. That means 60 to 70 million Americans will die in about 24 months.

That's about 100,000 people a day. They will not be able to make caskets fast enough during this horrific opening, epic, these opening days and months of the tribulation, where the devastation of death will be unimaginable. Which leads to question number 10, will anybody survive the tribulation? We're told in Matthew 24 that the tribulation will be cut short, as it were, so that not one believing remnant will pass away for the sake of the elect, who will enter the kingdom, but millions of others also will survive entering the kingdom. Those who are found worthy by faith in Christ will enter the kingdom by the millions. We will come with our Lord and we will reign over that population, which will have 1,000 years to populate the earth.

Can you imagine 1,000 years of just rule? What will happen to our economy? What will happen to travel? What will happen to commerce? The kingdom is an amazingly exciting time, virtually ignored by the church, but we plan to spend quite a bit of time on it when we get to those texts.

Next question, question number 11. What do all the horrors reveal? Primarily this, that God will keep his promise of wrath and justice, as well as his covenant with his people, Israel. 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. Number 12, can unbelievers accept Christ during the tribulation?

The answer is yes. In fact, people will come to Christ by the millions. This has been noted already in the fact that the tribulation martyrs from every tribe and nation are found before the throne of God. In fact, they're crying out for justice on earth, which is an interesting insight into the fact that people in heaven do know what's happening on earth.

We'll talk about that as well in the future. The added question to this one that I'm most often asked is, is it possible for those who've rejected Christ during the church age to receive him after the rapture, perhaps realizing that they have been left behind? 2 Thessalonians 2 is a critical text that refers to the strong delusion sent by God upon those who follow the lie of the antichrist. It's often used, and I believe misinterpreted and misquoted, to support that view that those who reject Christ prior to the rapture will not have a chance after the rapture.

That's not what it says. In fact, the text actually says that those people who are under the delusion of God are actually those who, after the rapture, follow the antichrist. They will be those under the delusion of God. Now, I have every reason to believe that those who reject Christ prior to the rapture are going to keep, many of them, keep rejecting him after the rapture. It will be the grace of God that will bring anyone to saving faith. What we do know for sure is that there will be untold millions of sinners who will come to faith in the Son of God during the tribulation, Revelation 7, verses 9 to 14.

Let me add a few more thoughts here before we stop this point. Many people overlook the fact that another tangible benefit of the tribulation is the delivery of a final, worldwide invitation of the gospel, which is literally global. Even though Satan will do everything he can in his power to defeat the witness of Christ, even though hell will continue to send its demons to wreak havoc on earth, Jesus Christ will be testified of and he will be exalted. Now, post-millennialists envision the church's evangelistic efforts, eventually, basically, reaching every corner of the earth and winning the world of Christ, completing of the Great Commission and sort of bringing in the kingdom.

Nowhere are we told this in Scripture. You say, what about Matthew 24, 14, which is often misquoted for this view and here's what Christ said. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations and then the end shall come. Many then would believe, post-millennials especially, the church is successful in completing the Great Commission and sort of ushers in, as it were, the kingdom. The church, ladies and gentlemen, is no more successful in fulfilling her mandate to disciple those from every tribe and tongue any more than Israel was successful in her mandate to be a blessing literally to the whole world.

Israel failed and the bad news is the church fails. The good news is God's program is not hindered by our failure. Now, if we want to obey him, we're going to take that commission and we're going to go around the world as obedient sons and daughters. But the program of God does not depend upon us, although those who are obedient to Christ, indeed, take the gospel as fast and as far as we can. But the church at large will be disobedient and lazy, laodicean, the church will fail the Lord.

The Lord will not fail the church. So what about the gospel being preached to the whole world and then the end will come? This is a promise that takes place in the tribulation, Matthew chapter 24, as Christ reveals the truth. In fact, if there's any doubt, Revelation clears up the fog in chapter 14 where we're told near the end of the tribulation period that an angelic herald, a messenger, is sent literally around the world delivering the gospel of Christ, inviting everyone from every tribe and every tongue, speaking in the language of every member of the human race to invite them to trust the living God.

It's miraculous. That's the completion of the gospel. And then the end will come. But imagine that a worldwide message delivered by this heavenly herald sent on a worldwide tour in every language of every human being going to every village, every person because of this grace of God miraculously hears the gospel and what will they do? Many will say no.

We don't want him. Maybe you're saying, you know what, if I had an angel come to me, truly sent from God, and he delivered the gospel to me, well, of course I'd believe. I don't believe you, Stephen, but I believe him. Millions will reject this messenger sent near the end of this tribulation period. For those of us today who believe in Christ, these texts bring a sense of awe and holy reverence and, I believe, an appreciation for the grace of God who has redeemed us and will rescue the church from the wrath to come and give us this future kingdom in which to reign with him.

One more question. Why study these end times? Why study eschatology, legia, words of end things, end times? Well, because of our view of scripture, first and foremost, we believe, as we've been told, that all scripture is what?

Profitable. Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3.16. Because of God's unique promise, you remember, at the outset of this book of Revelation, those who study it are given a special blessing. That blessing is revealed in the way we live our lives in light of prophetic truth.

Some of them I'll mention here quickly. Third, we study prophecy because of its place in the gospel. Paul preached to the Athenians 1,900 years ago, and he ended his message by telling them God was going to come and judge the world. It's part of the gospel message.

Because God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world. Compare him to popular preachers today who say it's not up to us to say anything judgmental. Here's Paul warning them judgment is coming. Be rescued from the wrath of God. The gospel is more than God loves you and wants you to be happy. And it certainly is more than he wants you to be comfortable and prosperous. It is and it involves God wants you to be rescued from his wrath.

You happen to be an enemy of his, and there's great trouble ahead. Studying prophecy then motivates evangelism. At least it did for the apostle Paul. He'd been given much of the truth of these coming days. He'd been given a tour of heaven.

After all that he had seen, he didn't come back and say, well, you know, no sweat, I'm in. No, he said, I am an ambassador of Christ and I beg you to be reconciled to God. It provided an incentive to see others glorifying God with him. Studying prophecy encourages and promotes personal purity. The apostle Peter encouraged the believer in the sight of the coming of Christ to live lives of holiness and godliness.

Second Peter 3.11. To say with Jonathan Edwards to resolve, to not do anything that you wouldn't want to do or you wouldn't want to do should Christ come. He wouldn't want to be caught doing any one thing should Christ appear as it were. Understanding that he is at any moment going to take his bride.

Do we want our garments to be soiled or do we want to be walking in a manner of purity and holiness? Prophecy, yet to be fulfilled next, actually settles anxiety. This was the message of Christ to his disciples in John 14, right? Where he told them not to be troubled in their hearts because he said, I'm going to leave you, but I'm going to what?

I'm going to come back and get you and take you to where I am. And that settled their anxiety. Furthermore, studying prophecy provides the ultimate comfort in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 13 to 18. Paul taught on the subject of the rapture and he ended his comments by saying, now comfort one another with these words. And I always have to stop here and just challenge my audience with the question, does the talk of the rapture comfort you or bring fear? The truth is, and this is why it's ultimately comforting, the truth is that God will keep his promises based upon his word, not because the church is faithful, not because we're faithful, but because we belong to him by faith in the faithful one. There is ultimate comfort that we are redeemed and secure because of Christ in his perfection and in spite of our sinfulness, he's redeemed us. Studying prophecy exalts next the supremacy of Christ.

Is there any other reason to study it than this? The message of revelation in two simple words, and maybe you can write it in the margin or at the beginning, it's just this will be all you'll remember in this crash course. This is it. Christ wins.

That's as simply as I can put it. Christ wins. Christ reigns. Christ conquers. History is his story, and he will be seen at last as our sovereign supreme savior. And listen, we are right on schedule. We're right on schedule. Nothing can stop his purposes from being fulfilled, and all his words will in fact come true.

One more. We study these texts of prophecy because they reveal the faithfulness then of our God. He will set things right. He will judge evil. He will keep his promise to Israel. He will preserve his church. He will fulfill the prophecy of his second coming. He will fulfill the promise of new heavens and a new earth.

So what do we do in the meantime? Well, understand this, that God gave us so much prophecy in his word, not just to fill our heads, but to change our hearts, to encourage our hearts, to motivate and purify our passion and prepare our hearts for him, for him and his kingdom. So while we wait for him, we work for him. We walk with him, and we worship him.

I pray that you'll be found faithful when the Lord returns. You've been listening to Wisdom for the Heart, the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. Stephen is the president of Wisdom International. The lesson you heard today is called A Crash Course on the Coming Tribulation. If you'd like to listen to this message again or share it with a friend, we posted it to our website, which you'll find at wisdomonline.org. Our ministry is supported by the financial gifts of listeners, and we're grateful for your support. We'll continue through this series on our next broadcast. Be sure and join us then on Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-09 00:09:15 / 2024-05-09 00:19:28 / 10

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