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Section 9B .. The Future

 

003white  Index to Section 9B... The Future         >       The End of The Age (Index)   >        Part I....The Day of The Lord

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The-Future

The End Of The Age Part I... The Day Of The Lord

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

"Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' (Ezekiel 33:11 NASB).

INDEX TO ALL SIX SECTIONS

YOU ARE HERE 001orange PART I... THE 'DAY OF THE LORD This devastating period of time, described as coming suddenly, was foretold by the prophets of old and is described in several different terms in both Old and New Testaments

PART II... THE FIRST SIX SEALS. If one avoids a superficial reading of Matthew 24, then compares what Jesus said in that chapter with the Seals of Revelation 6, it becomes quite clear that the Seals represent the persecution of Christians.

PART III... THE SEVENTH SEAL AND THE FIRST SIX TRUMPETS. This Seventh, and last, Seal does not bring about any disasters in itself but introduces the Seven Trumpets. In the Old Testament, trumpets often announced a coming disaster. And it will be no different at the end of the age, when the sounding of trumpets will herald the plagues that God will send on the earth, which will indeed be of 'Biblical proportions'.

PART IV... THE SEVENTH TRUMPET. This last Trumpet is, in a sense, the most eventful of all them all, since it literally ushers the old age out, and the new one in. In summary, this last and final Trumpet... a) Brings and end to the mystery of God, when the doors to the Kingdom close forever with no possibility of redemption for any that have not yet become a disciple of the Lamb. b) Marks the point when believers are caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (the rapture). They are physically moved off the earth for a very specific reason. c) Introduces the Seven Bowls that end all things.

PART V... THE RAPTURE. The reasons we cannot, and should not, trust in the Rapture taking place before the tribulation.

PART VI... THE SEVEN BOWLS. Zephaniah 1:18 says it all... "Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the Lord's wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, for He will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying one, of all the inhabitants of the earth"

 

The End Of The Age Part I... The Day Of The Lord

The Coming Kingdom of God
The Bible paints for us a picture of a new world for God's people. This  coming kingdom of God, also called heaven, is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there', but matches, in every respect, the world most men and women would choose to live in... a place of peace and safety, where there is no crime, hunger and disease, no war and, above all, no death. In fact, far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, Christianity promises exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of. (See The Message of The Bible and What and Where is Heaven?

However, God's kingdom (in every sense of the word) will only be fully realized when Jesus physically returns to earth and takes it over, destroying His enemies and ruling from Jerusalem. The problem is that Jesus will not have anyone in His kingdom who shows no allegiance to Him as King and does not bother to obey Him. Nor will any unbelieving, unrighteous, wicked, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful, murderous, insolent, arrogant, malicious, greedy or deceitful people ever be a part of His eternal Kingdom. (See Romans 1:29-32 and Revelation 21:8)

Which means, He has to first 'clean house'.


The World We Live In

is not a pretty one. In fact, that is quite possibly, the understatement of the year. John Elliott, a pastor in the United Church of God, says it well...

    The escalating collapse of ethics and morals in many countries is a symptom of a deeper sickness and out-of-control internal problems. Many in our self-centered world seem hell-bent on living any way they please. Our societies stifle anyone who opposes their self-serving appetite. People weigh in for a bigger slice of the pleasure pie. They seem willing to do anything in their lust for power, possessions and prestige. Meanwhile, traditions, customs, culture and laws based on the Bible are casually cast aside.

    At almost every turn we see an escalation of brutality, violence, slander, theft and sexual perversion. In Western civilization, this is matched with a determined effort to remove any mention of God and His standards from public life. [01]

Increasingly, modern society, flaunts its sins like Sodom once did, without the slightest effort to conceal them. But, as the prophet went on to say, "Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves" (Isaiah 3:9). The present conditions should not surprise any Christian considering that, some two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul warned of the terrible times to come. In his words...

    But realize this, that in the last days difficult (Gk. chalepos) times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4 NASB)

The NASB renders the Greek word chalepos into the English "difficult", which seems to be a rather mild translation of the word. The only other occurrence of chalepos in the New Testament is in Mark's description (8:28) of two men, who were demon possessed. The KJV and Young's literal translation both say the men were so "fierce" that no one could pass that way. The CLV uses the word "ferocious" and, in this case the NASB itself translates chalepos into "violent".

All of which descriptions perfectly fit our world today, with worse conditions to come.


The Judgment...
The litany of man's greed, ruthlessness, and inhumanity to his fellow man is a never ending one. Yet, when told that God is actually going to do something about this miserable planet of ours, we rear up on our hind legs and adopt our best sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, priggish, mealy-mouthed, self-righteous attitude. It suits us very well to see God strictly as a God of love, always bestowing wonderful things on us, and never causing any grief whatsoever.

Yet, over and over again, the Bible emphasizes the point that God is good to those who trust and follow Him, and terrible to those who do not. Although both Testaments emphasize the reality and terror of God's wrath, today's powerless, sickly sweet, sentimental, 'easy Christianity' has chosen to babble on and on about the goodness and love of God but, to our peril, totally ignore His wrath and judgment.

However, God is sovereign and, regardless of our views, opinions, and preferences, His justice will take place when He chooses, and in the manner He chooses. Nothing we can say or do is going to change what He has decided on. We seem to so easily forget that, although several of the apostles spoke about God's patience, they were all very clear.... the day of His wrath is on its way, when He will exterminate sinners from the face of the earth. (I strongly suggest you read The Wrath of God

Old and New Testament prophets warned that this would happen...

    For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.  (Matthew 16:27 NASB)

    But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: (Romans 2:5-6 NASB)

    There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek (Romans 2:9 NASB)

    But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 NASB)

There is a day looming on the horizon when mankind's iniquity will reach the brim, at which point in time He will say, "enough!" and will pour out His wrath, or retributive justice, on the earth, bringing punishment to transgressors, and an end to the injustice and suffering in this world.

(See An Overview of Revelation)


The 'Day of The Lord'
God's kingdom will be preceded by a devastating period of time such as man has never before seen. This will be the darkest time in human history, when even the heavens and earth will tremble at His power and fury, the moon will turn to blood, and the sun will no longer gives out its light. (Revelation 6:12-17). See Joel's Prophecy HERE

This time was foretold by the prophets of old and is described in several different terms in both Old and New Testaments. While the exact phrase the 'Day of the Lord' is used some 30 times in Scripture, Jeremiah 30:7 called it the "time Of Jacob's Trouble", while Isaiah 34:8 said it will be a "Day Of Vengeance", and Daniel 12:1 said it will be the "Time Of Distress". Romans 2:5 calls it the "Day Of God's Wrath".

A few examples of the prophecies regarding the terror of that day are...

    Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the Lord And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. (Isaiah 2:19 NASB)

    Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. (Isaiah 13:9-11 NASB)

    Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's distress, But he will be saved from it.  (Jeremiah 30:7 NASB)

    The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. (Joel 2:31 NASB)

    "I will completely remove all things From the face of the earth," declares the Lord. "I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the Lord. (Zephaniah 1:2-3 NASB)

    Near is the great day of the Lord, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the Lord! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and the high corner towers. I will bring distress on men so that they will walk like the blind, Because they have sinned against the Lord; And their blood will be poured out like dust And their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them On the day of the Lord's wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth. (Zephaniah 1:14-18 NASB)

    The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:14-17 NASB)

This 'Day of The Lord' is described as coming suddenly, catching the non believer unawares

    For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 NASB)

It is this period of time is that Jesus was referring to when He said "for then shall be Great Tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21). A period when the prophecies about the antichrist, the mark of the beast etc. will be fulfilled.


The Result of An Accumulation of Sin
If John's visions are literal, we may ask the question.. Why? Why is there such a terrible price to pay? The answer, although distasteful to many, may be simpler than we expect... sin seems to pile up, eventually becoming so bad that God's patience has to give way to his justice.

    In Genesis, Abraham was told that his descendants would have to wait 400 years before they could take possession of the Promised Land, for "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete" (Genesis 15:16).

    The book of Revelation tells us about Babylon: "for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities" (Revelation 18:5).

    In Romans, Paul wrote that because of their stubbornness and unrepentant hearts, they were "storing up wrath" for themselves in the day of wrath (Romans 2:5).

It appears that God lets sin "pile up" for years, or even generations before it provokes Him to act in swift decisive judgment and destruction.

    If that is true for nations and individuals, could it not also be true for the entire planet? What if God has been restraining His judgment for thousands of years, while men have filled the earth with blood, hatred, war and immorality? Could it be that the terrible plagues and judgments in the book of Revelation are the accumulation of God's wrath over the history of mankind, stored up for that season of time, which would immediately precede the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? This certainly appears to be the thought given in the sixth chapter of Revelation where the world's leaders, along with the rich and the poor of the earth cry out, "The great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:17). [02]

But there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel... As Jesus said...

    Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. (John 16:20-21 NASB)


Revelation's Symbolism ... The Seals, Trumpets And Bowls

In order to understand exactly what is in store for this planet and its inhabitants, we need to turn to Revelation, the last book of the Bible which, usually considered to be extremely difficult to understand, has given rise to many controversies. However, the basic theme is undeniably clear. It encourages Christians in difficult times, warns them against compromise, and assures them that, regardless of appearances, God is in control.

The horrendous conditions in the last days are described by the metaphorical images of Seals, Trumpets and Bowls, which some say run concurrently. Others are of the opinion that they are different and succeeding series of judgments. While I do not believe that either point of view is quite correct, there is little doubt that conditions get progressively worse, and more devastating, as the end times progress. In summary...

    The Seven Seals include the infamous four horsemen who conquer, take peace from the earth, kill with a sword, cause famine and death etc.

    The Seven Trumpets, described in Revelation 8:6 9:21, will include an apocalyptic storm that is described as "hail and fire mingled with blood, burning up a third of the earth's trees and all green grass" closely reminiscent of the results of a nuclear explosion. At the second trumpet "something like a great mountain burning with fire" will be thrown into the sea" (Revelation 8:8-9.. a meteor perhaps?), while the third trumpet will affect the world's lakes and rivers which will kill many who drink of their waters (Revelation 8:10-11). A darkening of the sun, moon and stars is also predicted, as is an army that kills another third of humanity (Revelation 9:12-21)

    The Seven Bowls are the result of the seventh trumpet being sounded. Some of these plagues are reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt: a great darkness, water turned to blood etc. (Revelation 16:4-7). Also included in the bowl judgments are painful sores, the death of all marine life, a devastating earthquake and giant hailstones. The drying up of the Euphrates river and the massing of the armies of the antichrist for the battle of Armageddon pretty much completes the picture.

Many have tried to water down the frightening scenario that Revelation paints by, as Dr. David R. Reagan says "... turning it into a giant parable in which nothing can be definitely known except that in the end Christ will triumph and all will be well". But, as he so rightly goes on to say, "such an interpretation makes all the details of the visions meaningless". [03]

Not only does the imagery and symbolism of Revelation describe the horrendous conditions of the last days, but tells us in what order they will occur. In summary, the first Six Seals unfold one after the other. The 'Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse" (The first four seals) symbolize the persecution of the church with much blood being shed, which will, in a sense, be the last straw and bring an end to God's patience. The opening of the Seventh Seal will introduce the series of Seven Trumpets. The first six are the 'Great Tribulation', which Jesus said would be unparalleled in past or future history. The blowing of the Seventh Trumpet will herald Jesus appearing before the Face of God for us, and what we call the "rapture". This will be closely followed by the Seven Bowls of the wrath of God when He will, as the prophet Zephaniah said, cut man off from the face of the earth (Zephaniah 1:2-3)


Continue on to Part II... The Seven Seals

 

Endnotes

[01] John Elliott. Coming Calamities: Does God Offer Protection?
http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/coming-calamities-does-god-offer-protection/

[02] Dr. David R. Reagan. Nuclear Weapons in the End Times... Does the Bible predict a nuclear holocaust. Copyright © 1996-2015 Lamb & Lion Ministries. http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_tribulation5.php

[03] ibid.

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