The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)  – The Great Tribulation

The Great Tribulation

This is the next in our series of ‘The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)’. It is a subject which is spoken of extensively in scripture but is often misunderstood. Two important points:

It is future
It relates to Israel – the church has no part in it.
The notes here are largely from ‘The Scroll of Time’ by John Ashton Savage

The Great Tribulation

This is the next in our series of ‘The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)’.  It is a subject which is spoken of extensively in scripture but is often misunderstood.  Two important points:

  1. It is future
  2. It relates to Israel – the church has no part in it.

The notes here are largely from ‘The Scroll of Time’ by John Ashton Savage (Originally A.S. Rouse, 1893. Available from Chapter Two UK or Bible Truth USA) and various papers from J N Darby.

Plenty has been written, and there have been best seller works dramatising these happenings (e.g Hal Lindsey – this Late Great Planet Earth (Zondervan, 1970) – Amazon.  Here are just a few notes.

Thank God you and I will not be there!

 

Here are a few scriptures:

 

King James Version Darby Version
Daniel 12:1  
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be     a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even  to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of distress, such as never was since there was a nation until that time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.

 

Jeremiah 30:7  
Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
Matthew 24:21  
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from [the] beginning of [the] world until now, nor ever shall be;

 

Popular Misconceptions

 Some argue that the tribulation is past.  It occurred when the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans in AD70.  Others would say that the Old Testament references were fulfilled in BC175 when Artitarchus Epiphanes set up an altar to Jupiter in the temple.  These were serious happenings, and many Jews were slain at those time.

There have been arguments that Daniel’s prophecy referred to 70 weeks (of years) i.e.490 years which would point to the crucifixion of Jesus, and He saying that this generation would not pass till these things had been accomplished.

This overlooks two things though:

  1. There is a lot more detail of the time in scripture (see later), and Satan is involved directly. Moreover in Revelation it is included in ‘the things which shall be hereafter’.
  2. The time we are in – the church period – forms no part of biblical prophecy. As I have said below, a brother in our meeting used to say often, ‘The prophetic clock has stopped’. The church will have been raptured (see 1 Thess 4:16), and we will be in heaven – NOT on the earth where these things take place.

 

Some features of the Tribulation

  1. Its duration is defined – 3½ years (or 42 months or 1260 days) – normally thought of as the last half-week of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy (Dan 9:27).
  2. The Roman Empire will have been re-established. True, the EU could well be a vehicle, but a true political unity will be established.  Brexit will have to be undone!
  3. The ‘lot 10 tribes’ of Israel will have to have been recovered for there to be a remnant of Israel – the 144,000.
  4. There will be political groupings:
  • King of North (Iran, Russia (Rosh), Togarmah (Armenia), Tubal (Tbilisi), Gomer (W Europe)
  • King of South (Egypt, Arabia)
  • The East (200,000,000 strong army – India, Pakistan, China etc)
  1. All restraint will have gone – ‘He who restrains – i.e. the Holy Spirit – see 2 Thess 2:7
  2. Satan, and in particular the false prophet will delude, even if it were possible, the elect (Mark 13:12)

Signs of the Times

Many things which happen now might be regarded as signs that the tribulation is imminent.  Examples:

  1. Israel established but insecure
  2. Religious systems supporting Palestine rather than Israel
  3. Establishment of a world religion
  4. Decline of Christianity in the West, but its increase in Africa and Asia.
  5. ‘Wars and rumours of wars’

However, we should not rely too much on these.  The future is in God’s hands and what is to come will not happen until the church has been raptured

 

The Personages

Three personages will dominate the world – the trinity of evil, forcing obedience.  Their subjects will have the mark of the beast.

  1. Satan – ‘the great red dragon’ – the first beast
  2. The Antichrist – the second beast
  3. The false prophet

 

Happenings on Earth

First part

  1. Great wars Rev 6:1-4
  2. Economic instability favouring the rich and harming the poor Rev 6:5-6
  3. Persecution of the Jewish faithful – more martyrs Rev 6:9-11
  4. Natural disasters Rev 6:12-17

Second part

  1. Tyranny – the beasts and kings, and the mark of the beast Rev 13
  2. Satan cast out into the earth Rev 12:9
  3. The Romish church in control over the secular power (the woman riding the beast Rev 17:3) – then this is reversed (the woman hated and the kingdom given to the beast  Rev 17:16)
  4. The army from the East released Rev 9:14-16 – Armageddon
  5. The King of the North will attack Jerusalem and then proceed through to defeat the King of the South – Dan 11

In Matt 24:22 it says, ‘Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved’ – one can deduce that nuclear bombs will be used – see Rev 16:8, 9:18, Zech 14:12)

 

God’s Testimony on Earth

In spite of everything going on, God will have His testimony on earth

  • The 144,000 faithful Rev 7:4
  • The martyrs Rev 6:11
  • The two witnesses Rev 11:3
  • The ‘man Child’ (Christ formed in the saints on the earth) Rev 12:5
  • The everlasting gospel Rev 14:6

There is no evidence, rather the contrary, that any hearts are turned to God by this testimony

 

God’s Judgment

At the point when all forces will be united against God and the holy city, God will send His angel, and Satan will be bound for 1000 years.  (Rev 20:2)

 

And Afterwards

We have the millennium.  Contrary to popular belief, we shall not be with Christ on the earth.  We are a heavenly family – we reign OVER the earth – Rev 5:10

This is our prospect – and our hope.  Is it yours?

 

Yours in Christ

Sosthenes

May 2017

 

 

 

The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)  – The Marriage of the Lamb

7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb

The Marriage of the Lamb

The third in our series of forthcoming events is the marriage of the Lamb. Chronologically the Antichrist and the great tribulation probably come first, but I would like to concentrate first on the events which affect the church and the saints of our dispensation:

  1. The Rapture
  2. The Judgment Seat of Christ
  3. The Marriage of the Lamb (this note)
  4. The Millennium (to be written)

 

Revelation 19:6-9

King James Version Darby Version
6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 6And I heard as a voice of a great crowd, and as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah, for [the] Lord our God the Almighty has taken to himself kingly power.7Let us rejoice and exult, and give him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright [and] pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.

9And he says to me, Write, Blessed [are] they who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb. And he says to me, These are the true words of God.

 

The marriage is described in this passage.  I have shown the Darby version as there are expressions which he, and several modern translators, believe that the KJV rendering is inaccurate.  These are highlighted.

The Current Relationship between Christ and His Church

The church came into existence when the Holy Spirit filled the 120 or so persons who were gathered in the upper room in Acts 2:2, a number that soon grew to 5000.   From the start, she was united to Christ, and even at this early date fully capable of fulfilling her function as the wife of Christ.

The epistles often refer to the church as Christ’s body.  The body comprises only those who are alive now, not to all who will form the bride.  Nevertheless, the relationship between Christ and His assembly is clear: ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church’ (Eph 5:31-32.

It is not until Revelation that we have the Church described as a bride.  His wife had made herself ready, so she was a wife before she was a bride.  The church is now the wife looking after her Husband’s affairs in His absence.  She is His trustworthy confidante. Although the marriage ceremony has not yet taken place, the relationship already exists.  There is perfect unity between Christ and His church.  Christendom publicly is something else.

When is The Marriage of the Lamb?

Before the marriage celebration of the Lamb, Babylon – the rival – will have been overthrown and judged..  It says, ‘[the] Lord our God the Almighty has taken to himself kingly power’  (v. 6 Darby).  He had taken the power, and was about to reign, but He was not actually reigning.  Hence we can say that this event would take place between the great tribulation and the millennium

The judgment seat of Christ, must precede the marriage.  No doubt ‘his wife hath made herself ready’ (v. 7would refer in part to that.  What remains is the bride’s bright clothing – the righteousnesses of the saints (v. 8 Darby).  – things that they had done which had met with God’s approval. (Note KJV appears wrong again here – most modern translations say ‘righteous deeds or acts’, which is correct – Greek δικαιώματα/dikaiōmata/Strong 1345).  What qualifications the bride has!

 

The Marriage Celebration

When a couple gets married, the persons will not have been united beforehand (at least if they have been conducting themselves according to God’s clear ordering).  Traditions might vary, but in any marriage there is generally a legal act and a celebration.  The bride is the centre of attention, beautifully dressed (hopefully comelily), and looking her best.  A new household is established, the man and the woman having both left their parental homes (see Gen 2:24 and Psalm 45:10).  The fact that the Holy Spirit introduced this concept so early in Genesis shows that the marriage relationship was always in God’s mind and purpose.

From what we have seen this will be no ordinary marriage.  We might say that legal side has already taken place.  Now it is time for a celebration of an existing relationship.  Until Satan had been overcome publicly it was not yet the time for her to be seen publicly in her beautiful radiance

It says ‘Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ v. 9.  Abraham and other Old Testament saints will be there as guests. They are children of the bridechamber, but they are not united to Christ as the church is (see Minstry of James Butler Stoney vol 6 page 116).  It has been suggested that the invitees include the king’s daughters and the daughters of Tyre in Psalm 45: 9 & 12.

  

Jerusalem as the Bride

The bride is described as a city because of her function of rule.  ‘Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.  And he [the angel] carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God…’ (Rev 21:9-11).  However, this will be seen in the millennium – the bride (or wife) of Christ, already married.

The holy Jerusalem is, of course, totally different from the millennial Jerusalem on earth, described in Ezekiel 40-44 and many other scriptures.  The city we are referring to will not be physically on the earth – indeed its foundations will be visible. Rev 21:6 describes the city as a cube 12,000 cubits (approx. 1380 miles or 2200km) in each dimension.

 

What is the difference between Christ’s heavenly and earthly bride?

The following table shows the difference between the two:

The Heavenly Bride The Earthly Bride
What The Church or Assembly Israel
Key Scriptures Rev 19:6-9 Psalm 45
Where In heaven – or at least over the earth On earth (see Ezek 40:2)
Jerusalem The holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev 21:2) I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain (Zech 8:3)
Relation to Christ She adores her Head She worships her Lord
When formed Starting with the Spirit’s coming, complete at the rapture Before Christ’s appearing and during the tribulation

 

Conclusion

We should guard ourselves from applying too much human logic and chronology to these holy matters.   I have not wanted to be technical, but have been feeling my way prayerfully through this holy subject.   I trust I have covered the matter justly.  If any reader feels that I have erred, please write immediately.

But it is wonderful that we are part of this beautiful bride!  Magazines are full of pictures of very beautiful women – pictures often enhanced digitally.  No such outward improvement will be required for the bride of Christ.  She will be just how Jesus wants it.

And we will be part!

God’s blessings

Sosthenes

February 2017