In our last study we stepped away from the events of the Tribulation to take a very compelling look at evidences for how and where the Antichrist and his False Prophet may arise to power on this earth. Today we will begin exactly where we paused in our journey through these terrifying last days of the Tribulation.
This is a description of where the world stands at the moment in which we begin today: War in Heaven- Satan has been cast from Heaven to earth. His possessed world ruler, the Antichrist, has now proclaimed himself god over all the nations and is in complete power. His False Prophet has forced the entire world population to receive a "Mark" of worship and loyalty to him alone, or they will be removed from the world economic system—unable to buy, sell or trade ever again. Those without the "Mark" will be murdered quickly and without reprieve. Christians and Jews are targeted for genocide by the Antichrist's administration with extreme hatred. In summary, the world has reached a point that it has embraced a false god in direct and purposeful rebellion against the True God Who created them. It hates any and all who will even proclaim His Name, and it stands ready to spiritually and even physically oppose Christ—calling evil good, and good evil; seeing Jesus as the Great Antichrist Who needs to be destroyed. Keep this mindset: as we watch the following events unfold and know that Our God is not an unloving, spiteful God—but a God Who has given everything He could to save those who rejected Him—up to and including His very life—and He has repeatedly warned those left on this earth, still waiting for those who would turn from their hateful ways: Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 2 Peter 3:9—and now against His own desire to see any of His creation perish, He must bring justice and judgment, and free His Creation from those who seek to hate and destroy all He has lived and died for in Love.
Revelation 14:1-5: these are the 144,000 Witnesses which John first wrote about in Revelation 7—all of a literal Jewish descent from the 12 Tribes of Israel who were selected and anointed to preach the Salvation of Christ and the Judgment of Christ to the entire world in these darkest moments. They were protected from God’s judgments which fell on the earth during their ministry. But it seems very clear in this passage they eventually were hunted and martyred for their Proclamation of Christ, just as the Apostles before them in times past—victims of the Antichrist's rage against Israel and Christians—because now they stand in Heaven in the midst of Christ Himself (Lamb) before the Four Living Creatures and Elders. As Heavenly choirs are playing music over them and they are singing a song prepared only for them at the foot of the throne in heaven, it would seem their faithful, sacrificial mission is now complete and they are Home with their King.
But even after the martyrdom of these Saints, God reaches out with one final, undeniable, all-reaching plea for anyone who will still listen, to turn in repentance because His worst, most hellish and all-consuming judgments are about to begin. Since all of His Evangelists are martyred and the time is at hand, God warns and draws the world's population to Him one last time through the sending of three heavenly messengers: Revelation 14:6-7: It is not clear whether these angels literally and physically proclaim the Gospel of Christ, or whether each is assigned the mission of assuring their Message is proclaimed through individuals and technology, but the wording and context would suggest this is a literal, final action by the angels of God, assuring that every-single-soul-left has heard this message and the two messages which follow after. This first message brings utmost sole importance to the only thing which should matter to anyone left on earth at this time: those here now, who do not know God or don't have a reverence for Him, think on this message as well for a moment. "Fear God and give Him Glory and Worship... Because His is judgment is at hand!" God made this awesome world for you; gave you life, consciousness, purpose; gave Himself totally to serve, and protect you—even from failures; and only wants our true love for Him and others in return. And yet many of you ridicule, doubt and disregard the One Who has lived and died for you. If we can't be in awe and wonder at this creative power around us—if we can't respect and fear His strength over us; if we can't be thankful and amazed at His sacrifice for us—should we continue receiving the gifts given? Then God sends a second angel with another warning: Revelation 14:8: This angel is saying the number one city in the times of the Tribulation (City of leadership and comfort), which led the way in rejecting the True God and in killing His Saints is now about to be utterly destroyed from among them. Many have guessed of what city these verses speak; many thinking it will be a city right here in America. [Mystery Babylon is covered extensively in Chapter 17, so we will wait to explore this question until then.] Then the final, most sobering warning: Revelation 14:9-11: I do not like to use scare tactics on people, but I do want to teach the whole Word of God just as it is written. God's final words to a cocky, uncaring world are: ‘As much as I love you; as much as I have given, and would give, to have you with Me—if you still choose to hate Me—the very One who gave you life; if you still choose to love and serve the one who has tried to destroy everything I did for you, who torments and kills all of those whom I love—make no mistake, My mercy will end and I will become your worst nightmare. I will make you wish you were never born.’
[Hebrews 2:3- “How neglect so great a Salvation?”] You have to understand this about our Jesus: no one could ever love more selflessly, humbly, and sacrificially than Him. But because of that very love, no one could be more completely vengeful and devastating than One defending against those who would hurt His Beloved. Our God is not "Just that mean and heartless", He is "Just that passionately in love and protection." Realize you are not dealing with a pitiful, needy God who is begging you for your acceptance, but a ferocious lion—an untamable beast—which will soon completely devour without mercy any who stand against Him and those He loves. He will not have selfish, uncaring people destroy his precious kingdom and bride a second time. John follows this description of the Wrath to come—the Wrath in which many newly converted saints will now have to endure as well, with a Word of encouragement and perseverance: Revelation 14:12-13: These verses essentially say: ‘Those who have finally chosen Me in this dark hour must endure this terrible season as well. But you will pass away from this earth into wonderful rest and acceptance being rewarded for your works, whereas the rest will pass from this earth into damnation, judgment, and even worse suffering.’
After all Jesus Christ has done, given and sacrificed to save us; after all the patient waiting in rejection; after all of the warnings—this last time from the very mouths of angels—God has shown that our world has reached a point of no return. A point of complete depravity where not a single soul remains which will choose to repent and love Him. Thus, His Final Series of Judgments is set into play: Revelation 14:14-16: Some use this passage as a defense for the "Pre-Wrath" Rapture, saying this is describing the physical moment in which God Raptures His Saints. But to take this view removes the verse from it's obvious context and it’s incredible meaning. When read in completion it becomes clear. Listen to connecting passage: Revelation 14:17-20: If these verses were talking about a "literal gathering" of the Saints at this time, then He is also talking about a "literal gathering" of the damned at this very time, because the same illustration is used for both. And remember—Jesus just told the saints remaining to patiently endure to death—all to shortly come. Since that is obviously not what happens, what do these two harvestings mean? This is a Prelude in symbolic description of the actions God is about to take on the world. He is about to command a swift, devastating, unrelenting, all out attack on this planet, clearing the fields of the harvest once and for all—some wheat ripe to be harvested, remaining Christians whom Jesus stands ready to greet; and some tares ready to be uprooted, sinners whom the angels stand ready to receive in Judgment. Because the harvest is now mature, no more wheat will be grown, and it is ready to be reaped. Revelation 22:11-13 expresses this very time when any and all remaining on earth are locked steadfast in their eternal destiny: awaiting harvest: Revelation 22:11-13: Jesus openly spelled out this moment to His disciples when He was on this earth 2000 years ago: Matthew 13:36-39. John was one who heard those very Words as Jesus' disciple, and here, Jesus has allowed him to see the very moment these verses would become reality. These verses sound so harsh and vengeful, but remember they were given to us by this Jesus: Luke 23:33-34. No one could love you more; no one has ever taken on more pain, humiliation and despair for you; no one could be hurt more by losing you. But, He is Just, Righteous and Protective over the Bride He died to save, and He knows that if anyone continues to think only of self after all they know He has done—you are one who would destroy His creation all over again, even though He tore it apart to save you.
Stop thinking He is weak, when in reality He is being patient in hope and love. Stop thinking you are doing Him a favor by accepting Him when in reality you are the one who will lose everything without Him. Stop thinking you have life figured out when you nor anyone else has a remote clue about anything in Creation. Stop putting off the urgency God put in your heart to make a change when these events are only a heartbeat away.
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