By Nathan Jones
What horrors will befall the world during the Great Tribulation?
On July 30, 2014, I was interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll survey the events within the Great Tribulation. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
Trumpets and Bowls
Vic: In Revelation 8-9, we read about the different judgments that will afflict the world during the Tribulation, particularly the Seventh Seal Judgment and the seven Trumpet Judgments. Can you tell to us a little bit more about these judgments?
Nathan: The first half of the seven-year Tribulation contains the Seven Seal Judgments. They comprise of a global war, a terrible earthquake, famine, disease and death. The Fifth Seal Judgment includes a terrible persecution of Christians. Those people who will accept Jesus as Savior will likely be martyred for their faith during the Tribulation.
The Seven Trumpet Judgments portray various natural disasters happening all over the earth and demonic attacks.
When we get to the Seventh Trumpet Judgment, that's the trumpet that coincides with the death and resurrection of the Two Witnesses and the Antichrist declaring himself to be God. That seventh trumpet marks the beginning of what's called the Great Tribulation, which is that second 3.5 years of the Tribulation. The Seventh Trumpet Judgment of Revelation 11 says, "And the temple of God was opened in Heaven and the Ark of the Covenant was seen in its Temple. There was lightening, noises, thunder, and earthquakes and great hail." So, a series of natural disasters also coincide with the Seventh Trumpet Judgment.
The Seventh Trumpet Judgment also releases the Seven Bowl Judgments of Revelation 16. These final seven judgments are really, really awful. They makes World War III actually look appealing in comparison they're so terrible.
Vic: It's amazing that there's so much disaster the Bible tells us happening during the Great Tribulation. On top of those natural disasters will be supernatural disasters coming upon the earth. We're seeing small signs of these coming today, but they're just very minor signs in comparison.
Nathan: Jesus said in Matthew 24 that the signs of the end times would come like birth pains. In other words, the signs would come more frequently and more intensely the closer we came to Jesus' return. Pastor Vic, both of us have children and we've seen our wives go through birth pains. The contractions start small and happen wide apart, but the closer the baby comes the more intense the pains get, the more frequent they become until the baby finally arrives. We today are witnessing the signs of the end times happening in nature, politics, war, and technology. All of these different signs say that Jesus is coming soon. These signs are certainly getting more frequent and intense. But, during the seven-year Tribulation, that's when they climax. That's when the signs are at their worst. The world is rocked by these 21 judgments which basically level the planet and kill most of the world's population.
Vic: That's incredible! That's why as we look at this Great Tribulation and the Tribulation period overall, it can be something that's just so hard to comprehend. And yet, the Bible says these events must happen. Some people mock that these events will happen, and some people have different views on the Tribulation, but we stick to what the Bible says. Everything seems to line up in a proper order, a sequence, so we can know how the Great Tribulation is going to occur.
Nathan: Correct. As a matter of fact, the Bible says flat out that in the end times scoffers will come scoffing at the Bible and about the Lord's return. So, one of the signs of the end times is that people will be conclude, "Bible prophecy is ridiculous. This is never going to happen." They also will scoff at the idea of a Flood. In other words, the scoffers are Evolutionists and Atheists who will say, "This nonsense about the end times is ridiculous. We can't trust the Bible."
And yet, the Bible is 100% accurate in its prophecies coming true. When Jesus came the first time, He fulfilled 109 distinct prophecies. That's an amazing statistic. To have 109 distinct prophecies about the Messiah fulfilled in the life of one man is astronomical. Peter Stoner, a mathematician, calculated that just eight out of the 109 prophecies being fulfilled in the life of one man is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That number's so off-the-chart huge, and yet that's just eight of the 109 prophecies. Therefore, we can know with 100% assurance that when Bible prophecy foretold Jesus would come the first time, we can know for a fact that He will come a second time. There are 500 verse in the Old Testament and one in every 25 verses in the New Testament that promise Jesus will come back a second time. If we can trust 100% that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies concerning His First Coming, then we can be assured that Jesus will fulfill all 500 prophecies concerning His Second Coming.
Escaping the Snare
Vic: Amen! Wow, what a wonderful word! That's why this study of the Great Tribulation is so important and is such a timely message, for now we know that time is running out.
God's Word is faithful. God's Word can be trusted. It begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is faithful to the end.
As we get ready to wrap up survey of the Great Tribulation, I'd like to leave people with a word of encouragement and share how they can begin their relationship with the Lord. How would you encourage, Nathan, who are learning about these judgments and can sense that something really big is happening but they haven't fully given their lives fully over to the Lord? What would you say to them?
Nathan: I'd ask, "What are you waiting for? Whatever particular sin you enjoy, is it that important to you that it's worth destroying your life forever?"
Sin is tempting and fun at first, but it's like a snare. It catches you and it enslaves you and you become a prisoner to it. The fleeting fun quickly sours and you become miserable and unhappy. If you're honest with yourself, you know in your heart of hearts that because of your rebellion against God you are destined for punishment forever which is Hell. Why hold onto that? It's like holding onto a penny when there's a billion dollars sitting right next to you. Salvation is like that billion dollars, and it is the cure.
Jesus died for you. He loves you that much. He wants you to accept Him as Savior, to repent of your sins, and to give your life to Him. Jesus in turn will forgive you, He'll save you, He'll rapture you, He'll protect you, and you won't have to go through the Tribulation. You'll live with Him forever in heaven and you'll have a joyous and abundant life ahead of you. That true life at peace with God is what's worth grabbing hold of and taking.
Vic: That's what we want everyone to know. What a wonderful gift! Salvation is all by God's grace. He gives it to those who open their hearts and trust in Him. That's why the Bible says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." We pray that you will reach out to Jesus Christ and have eternal life.