‘Doctrine’ means scriptural teaching on theological truths. Having sound doctrine is very important (1 Tim 6:3).
Nonetheless, understanding the Second Coming can be quite challenging as some of the teachings are covered in the Old Testament. Gosinnomore focuses on the New Testament and only uses the Old Testament texts to support a New Testament statement. We acknowledge that limitation.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ has not arrived. And the way that the Book of Revelation is written leaves room for interpretation.
At Gosinnomore, we try to focus only on clear texts. If we cannot reconcile a Scripture, we will leave it out. We will adhere to the three basic laws of good hermeneutics as follows:
- Law #1: As much as possible, Scriptures should be interpreted literally.
- Law #2: Scriptures must be interpreted historically, grammatically, and contextually.
- Law #3: Scripture is always the best interpreter of Scripture.
In addition, we will not be able to cover everything regarding the Second Coming as there are simply many statements. We will endeavor, however, to do as much as we can but will be glad to add new ones as new revelation becomes forthcoming.
This section focuses on the period of the Great Tribulation and what we know from the teachings of Jesus. It is winter.
D272 - The GT begins when Satan is kicked out of God's presence
Rev 12:7-12 reads,
‘And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. “ For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”’
What happens here?
Satan (also called the Serpent of old/ the devil/ the deceiver/ the accuser of our brethren) has just been kicked out of heaven (Yes, Satan can still access heaven. See D92 – Satan is the prince of this world).
Where does Satan end up?
He will end up on earth (Rev 12:12) and he knows that he has very limited time left.
What does he do?
He knows his time is short. Hence, he will vent his anger on the earth as well as the people of God. The Greek word used to describe Satan’s ‘wrath’ in Rev 12:12 is thumos or an outburst of passion/ wrath.
However, the people of God ‘loved not their lives even unto death’ (Rev 12:11).
We may, therefore, describe the ‘Great Tribulation’ as the wrath of Satan.
D273 - The GT begins when the Antichrist declares himself as God at the Temple
Matt 24:15 reads,
‘So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) …’
Dan 12:11 says,
‘From the time the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation set up, there will be 1,290 days.’
In 2 Thes 2:4, Paul described this incident a bit more.
He used the term ‘the man of lawlessness – the son of destruction’ and a person who ‘oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So, he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.’
Hence, we need a Third Temple for this prophecy to be fulfilled and a Third Temple has not yet been built.
In addition, the site is currently occupied by Muslims and is considered their third holiest site. It includes the Dome of the Rock which Muslims considered to be the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven pulled by winged horses. Will a Third Temple be built?
Before November 1947, no one imagined that we would have a Jewish nation today because the Jews had been scattered among the nations for a long time since AD 135.
The Jews were scattered because of the failed Bar Kokhba rebellion, when they were defeated by the Romans. Subsequently, the conquering Romans tried to completely obliterate the Jewish identity by:
- Changing the name of Judea to Palestina permanently,
- Banning Jewish law and rituals,
- Killing many Jewish rabbis,
- Converting Jerusalem into a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina,
- Forbidding Jews from living within sight of it,
- Selling Jews into slavery,
- Allowing only small Jewish enclaves around Galilee, and
- Outlawing the Jewish practice of circumcision, which was an acknowledgment of their faith through Abraham
- For more information, please click here.
The Third Temple will be built before the Antichrist declares himself as God. And, we know, that could happen quickly by using pre-fabrication.
For Scripture to be fulfilled, it must take place D271 – The Third Temple will be rebuilt prior to the Great Tribulation.
For Scripture to be accurate, the Antichrist will declare himself as God on the Temple Mount.
The Great Tribulation begins when the Antichrist declares himself (herself) as God at the Temple. The Antichrist rules a big part of the world as one empire with a clear mandate.
D274 - The GT represents the worst of times for believers
Jesus mentioned this time in all the gospels except John. He called it the
‘great tribulation such has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be’ (Matt 24:21).
Mark 13:19 describes it as a ‘tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now and never will be.’
Luke 21:22 calls it the ‘day of vengeance.’ (NB: Not ‘God’s vengeance’ in its original Greek as translated in NLT).
Rev 13:7-10 speaks about a time when the Antichrist (also called the beast) will be permitted (by God, no doubt) to wage war against ‘the saints and to CONQUER them’).
Zech 13:8-9 reads:
‘Two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it. I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.’
Will two-thirds of Christians and Jews die at the hands of the Antichrist? Is this a prophetic verse? Only time will tell.
Christians of that time are also told in Rev 13:10 –
‘If anyone is destined for captivity, into captivity he will go; if anyone is to die by the sword, by ted sword he must be killed. Here is a call for the perseverance and faith of the saints.’
Please see D278 – Believers will be present when the Great Tribulation starts, for more information.
We have had a few terrible catastrophes before even in recent history –
- The Holocaust where six million Jews were killed by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945,
- Pol Pot, who earned a reputation of terminating the lives of an estimated 2 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979,
- The Rwandan genocide, a mass slaughter of the Tutsi people by the Hutu. It took place in a short span of 100 days in 1994, where more than 800,000 people were killed, and
- The Rape of Nanking where an estimated 200,000 males were killed and 20,000 women and girls of all ages were raped and mutilated by the Japanese troops as an order given by the Japanese General Matsui Iwane so as to break the spirit of the Chinese resistance. That took place in a one month spell between Dec 1937 and Jan 1938.
Jesus said that this would be the worst of times.
If you could see in the above catastrophes, all it took was for the endorsement of one authoritative sinister person to see such evilness exhibited within a short time span.
It must come because Scripture has to be fulfilled. Please see D4 – God does not lie, and D257 – Scripture must be fulfilled.
How could God allow for such an event?
This is not a theological discussion but a doctrinal explanation based on Scripture. As such, we will not attempt to answer this question. For more information, you might like to go here.
You might also want to refer to the doctrinal section found under ‘Persecution of believers‘ – D138 to D145.
D275 - There may yet be outlier states that don't subscribe to the Antichrist
Rev 13:7 says,
‘It was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.’
Who are ‘the saints’?
The Greek word is hagios or those set apart by (or for) God/ holy/ sacred. In Paul’s Epistles, Paul always used the term, ‘saints’ (hagios), to address believers, both Jews and Gentiles – Col 1:2, Eph 1:1, Phil 1:1, Philemon 1:5.
We, believers, are saints.
The Antichrist will make war with believers everywhere, especially in the places he controls. Rev 13:7 encompasses practically everywhere in the inhabitable world (cities, we reckon, for sure).
When we read Rev 12:13, we have a story of the dragon (Satan) pursuing ‘the woman who had given birth to the male child’ (suspected to be the nation of Israel) and the dragon not being successful at destroying the woman. Rev 12:15 says,
‘The earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.’
There might be areas that the Lord would not allow Satan to touch, just like the case of ‘the woman’. It might be the likes of refuge cities in the Old Testament.
Also, read D281 – Believers are told to run when danger comes.
The Antichrist may not rule the entire world although Rev 13:7 does say that he would be given authority ‘over over every tribe and people and language and nation’ and Dan 7:23 says that ‘he will devour the whole earth, trample it down, and break it to pieces.’
In the Old Testament Book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar wrote a letter to declare God’s Kingdom in Dan 4:1 and he sent it out to
‘all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.’
In other words, King Nebuchadnezzar considered himself ruler of all the earth. The Hebrew word for ‘earth’ is ara or the earth/ ground/ land. Nonetheless, we know that King Nebuchadnezzar never did rule the entire world but only a very huge region of the Middle-Eastern world.
We must remember that the world is a big place. We hypothesize that cities where large population gathers, are the most vulnerable. Many nations will fall under the Antichrist’s dominance but there may still be pockets of ‘valueless territories’ or the hinterland of countries. Believers will, no doubt, be forced to the fringes of societies as we will also not be able to buy or sell. Here are additional thoughts:
- D262 – Believers will be hated by all nations. There will be tremendous mental and financial pressure to conform or compromise our Christian values. Hence, Christians are asked by our Lord to ‘endure’ (Matt 24:13, Mark 13:13); the Greek word is hupomeno or stand my ground/ show endurance/ bear up against/ persevere,
- D265 – There will be a rise in persecution of believers,
The world monetary system will most likely force Christians to decide if we want to follow Christ wholeheartedly or not (See S141 – Take on the mark of the beast (666) on either our right hand or forehead) as it will impact our entire life.
- D269 – The first glimpse of the 666 system (one monetary system) is upon us,
- D280 – The 666 monetary system becomes mandatory, and
- S141 – Take on the mark of the beast (666) on either our right hand or forehead.
D276 - Satan's demonstration of great power will deceive even believers
How will it be like when the Antichrist takes his seat in the temple of God?
He will be coming ‘in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders’ (2 Thes 2:9). And he will deceive many.
‘With all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness’ (2 Thes 2:10-12).
Rev 13:13-16 explains that
‘he (the Antichrist) performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men (like X-men). And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast.’
Matt 24:24 says that
‘false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.’
The Greek word for ‘elect’ is eklektos or chosen out/ elect/ choice/ select/ of those chosen out by God for rendering of special service to him (Hebrew race/ Christians).
The word eklektos is used to refer to Christians in the following verses:
NB: We need to clarify that as some Christian leaders have been teaching that the term ‘elect’ refers only to Jewish Christians. That is incorrect since Paul wrote to Gentile Christians. The word eklektos is used by Paul referred to believers (Gentiles and Jews).
We believe that the quality of the supernatural will arise; remember, Satan is still the prince of this world (D92 – Satan is the prince of this world) and he knows his time is now limited (D270 – The Great Tribulation begins when Satan is kicked out of God’s presence). Satan will also be operating as a team with many ‘false Christs and false prophets’ (Matt 24:24).
Hence, he will, without doubt, attempt to deceive as many as is possible, even, and especially, Christians during that time.
D277 - The GT is not the wrath of God
In 1 Thes 5:9, it states unequivocally that
‘God has not destined us (believers) for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.’
It is similar in 1 Thes 1:10 that
‘Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.’
The Bible is clear – Christians are not destined for the wrath of God.
Vengeance is reserved for those who are anti-gods and not believers (see D297, Jesus will return to avenge the sufferings of his saints).
Yet, D274 – The Great Tribulation represents the worst of times describes a terrible time known as the ‘Great Tribulation.’
Matt 24:21 says,
‘For then there will be a great tribulation (thlipsis), such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.’
Rev 7:14 mentions that there will be a group of people who are ‘clothed in white robes’ as those ‘coming out of the great tribulation (thlipseos).’ We will explore this group of people further in D278 – Believers will be present when the Great Tribulation starts.
John 16:33 promises Christians that
‘In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’
And Rom 12:12 encourages believers to
‘ rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.’
There are TWO Greek words that we are important –
- Thlipsis/ Thlipsin/ Thlipsei for ‘tribulation’ – Thlipsis means persecution/ affliction/ distress/ tribulation, and
- Orge for ‘wrath’ – Orge means vengeance/ wrath/ punishment.
Scripture promises us ‘thlipsis’ like John 16:33 –
‘In the world you will have tribulation.’
The easiest way to distinguish the two is to substitute the word, ‘orge‘, or wrath/ vengeance/ punishment, into every verse that has the word ‘thlipsis‘ like John 16:33 –
‘In the world, you will have wrath (of God).’
Or Rom 12:12 –
‘ rejoice in hope, be patient in wrath (of God), be constant in prayer.’
Can you see how ridiculous that can become? Christians are NOT destined for God’s wrath but we are NOT immune from tribulation. Scripture assures believers that we will not go through the wrath of God (or we will be protected).
Perhaps the best place to learn about the difference is Romans 5 when both words are mentioned.
Romans 5:3-4 reads – ‘ …. but we rejoice in our sufferings/ tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.’
That word, ‘sufferings’ or ‘tribulations’ came from the Greek word thlipsis and we know what thlipsis means.
What does thlipsis do? Thlipsis produces endurance, then character, and finally brings about hope for us. Thlipsis is a good thing.
Now, go to Rom 5:9. It reads, ‘Since, therefore, we have been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved from wrath through him.’
That word, ‘wrath’ is taken from the Greek word orge and we know what orge stands for.
Do Christians go through God’s wrath? Of course not – ‘We are saved from wrath through him (Jesus Christ)’.
But thlipsis? Yes, we are to ‘glory in (our) tribulations‘. We must be prepared for thlipsis because it is part of the Christian life.
The Great Tribulation is therefore not the wrath of God but rather, if we may say, the wrath of Satan.
We are ‘saved from wrath’ but we are to ‘glory in tribulations’. Christians WILL go through the Great Tribulation.
For more information, please see –
- D138 to D146 – Persecution of believers and
- D265 – There will be a rise in the persecution of believers.
Please see D270 – The countdown of the Great Tribulation begins when Satan is kicked out of God’s presence.
Based on the reading of Matthew/ Mark/ Luke/ Revelation, there may yet be a period of God’s wrath immediately after the Great Tribulation and prior to the return of our Lord. Of course, we do not want to be dogmatic about it as the writing in Revelation is quite analogical and is difficult to interpret; it is our preference to understand Christ’s return through his own words.
D278 - Believers will be present when the GT starts
Will believers be present when the Great Tribulation starts?
This is a MOST critical question for believers living during that period of the Great Tribulation.
Many have been taught that believers will not face the Great Tribulation as it is equated with the wrath of God. Christians are not supposed to suffer the wrath of God.
Therefore, according to these teachers, Christians will all be gone and be raptured before the Great Tribulation.
But what if the Great Tribulation is NOT the wrath of God and believers are still around? How will believers respond? Will they feel deceived and cheated?
‘In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint.”’
At his first visit, Jesus shared openly about his own death and crucifixion, not once but multiple times in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
In just the book of Matthew alone, you can find him describing his own death in Matt 16:21, Matt 17:22-23, then again in Matt 20:17-19. Yet, his disciples did not pick up those hints until after his death.
The book of Mark mentioned that Jesus ‘said this plainly’ (Mark 8:32). The Greek word is parresia or openly/ boldly/ confidently.
Again, just before the judgment of Pilate, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus replied:
‘I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I HAVE SAID NOTHING IN SECRET‘ (John 18:20).
Jesus spoke plainly and openly (not in secret) about his second coming too.
Hence, we opine that the best way to understand the second coming of Jesus as well as to whether believers will be present when the Great Tribulation starts, is to study the words of Jesus about his own second advent in the same gospels before we even venture to the teachings of Paul and the Book of Revelation.
Jesus came, walked the earth and associated with his disciples. He was the most candid member of the Godhead. Jesus said in John 12:48 –
‘The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.‘
Jesus was telling us to observe carefully what he had spoken.
If we read it sequentially in terms of things to take place before Jesus returns, we will come to Matt 24:29-31 when it says,
‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days (you will recognize ‘those days’ as the Great Tribulation), the sun will be darkened ….. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man ….. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect (Gentile and Jewish Christians) from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (that is, the rapture will take place).’
But if we want to know what happens at the Great Tribulation, we will find them in Matt 24:15-26. And that there is no rapture before the coming of the Abomination of Desolation (The Antichrist) in Matt 24:15, followed by a time of tremendous upheaval for all believers.
Mark 13:17 says that those days will be ‘woeful’ (The Greek word is ouai or woeful/ uttered in grief or denunciation).
There is no rapture before the coming of the Abomination of Desolation who then triggers the start of the Great Tribulation.
See D273 – The Great Tribulation begins when the Antichrist declares himself as God at the Temple.
Beyond the words of Jesus, we have in Rev 7:9-17, the Apostle John sharing about a time when a great multitude is gathered ‘before the throne’.
This multitude comes from
‘every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues’ and they are clothed in ‘white robes.’ One of the elders then explained to John that ‘these are the ones who come out of the Great Tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ and ‘they will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; ….. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’
Who were these worshipers in heaven?
Here are a few facts:
- They came from every nation,
- They wore white robes,
- Their robes were made white in the blood of the Lamb,
- They came out of tremendous suffering,
- They would no more hunger and thirst,
- They served God day and night in his temple.
Does not this multitude sound like a great assembly of believers who have suffered and came out of the Great Tribulation?
Rev 12:12 details a time when the devil was banished to earth and knew that he only had a short time left. It says that
‘the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.’
Focusing on Revelation, who did Satan make war with?
Those who hold to the testimony of Jesus …. In other words, believers (Rev 12:11-17).
Again, Rev 13:7 talks about a time when the beast (the Antichrist)
‘was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them and it was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.’
It is followed by these serious and unpleasant words from Rev 13:9 –
‘If anyone is destined for captivity, into captivity he will go; if anyone is to die by the sword, by the sword he must be killed.’
Who did the Antichrist make war with?
The saints who are from every tribe/ people/ tongue/ nation. Believers are still on the earth when the Great Tribulation takes place. Please see the start of this explanation.
Who are ‘the saints’?
The Greek word is hagios or those set apart by (or for) God/ holy/ sacred. In Paul’s Epistles, he always addressed believers, Jews and Gentiles, as ‘saints’ (hagios) – Col 1:2, Eph 1:1, Phil 1:1, Philemon 1:5.
We, believers, are the saints of God. We are the ones who ‘hold to the testimony of Jesus’.
And what are believers told to be ready for?
Rev 13:9-10: ‘He who has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is destined for captivity, into captivity he will go; if anyone is to die by the sword, by the sword he must be killed.’
Why is there a need for ‘perseverance’?
Because of the intensity of the Great Tribulation, believers are told to endure.
Here are the questions –
- Which believer in his/ her right mind would want to be around when the Great Tribulation starts? Probably none of us. Not even Jesus wanted to suffer. Just in case we forget, Jesus’ own persecution was so intense that he sweated blood (Luke 22:43-44) and he sought God to ‘take this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). His prayer to do the will of God was answered but not his desire to escape the cross.
- Does God condone the killing of believers to meet his sovereign plan? We can ask a similar question
– Why did God allow the beheading of Christians by ISIS (readers might like to note that some of them were killed by blunt swords sawing through their necks)?
– Why did God permit the Holocaust when six million Jews were killed?
– Why did he look the other way when many Christians were mauled and eaten by ravenous lions in the Colosseum of Rome even as spectators watched on?
– Finally, why did God agree to the death of Jesus Christ in order for his salvation plan to work for all of us?
Why did Jesus not arrive as a conquering Messiah when he visited the earth more than 2,000 years ago? Surely, more people would have accepted him there and then?Rom 8:32 says,
‘He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all.’
We will never have an answer on this side of heaven but God’s sovereign plan must be worked out. Scripture must be fulfilled.
Please see D4 – God does not lie, and D257 – Scripture must be fulfilled.
- Are believers protected from the Great Tribulation?
Please see the section on Persecution (D138 to D146) especially D139 – For believers, persecution should not surprise us, and D277 – The Great Tribulation is not the wrath of God.
- Why is this question so important to be answered?
Because many in the church have been taught that Christians will be raptured before the Great Tribulation (We will talk more about the rapture later) and Christians are not destined for wrath (Please see D277 – The Great Tribulation is not the wrath of God).
If the rapture does not take place, many believers are likely to be left disillusioned and unprepared. And believers may end up accepting Satan himself because of his ability to perform ‘great signs’ (Rev 13:13) and they will possibly take up the mark of the beast. It will be a Great Deception.
- How prepared are believers when the Great Tribulation begins? Do we even educate believers on what to expect? Do churches and families prepare their congregation and children on what to expect respectively?
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares
In Matt 13, Jesus spoke about the parable of the weeds, comparing wheat (good seeds) with tares (bad seeds/ tares). In Matt 13:24-30, Jesus said that the both were allowed to grow until harvest time but that the reapers should (Matt 13;30) –
‘Gather the weeds (tares) first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but (then) gather the wheat into my barn.’
Then, later in Matt 13:36-43, Jesus explained the parable. The reapers were his angels, the good seeds (wheat) were the sons of the kingdom, and the tares/ weeds were the bad seeds sowed by the devil.
Readers might like to note that the wheat was not taken out first but allowed to remain; in fact, the tares were gathered before the wheat. This, therefore, challenges the assertion made by pre-tribulationists that Christians (or in this case, the wheat) were removed first before action (the Great Tribulation) was taken against the tares. Both wheat and tares existed side by side before the tares were removed for the wheat to remain.
Some of our members live in an earthquake prone zone. We have been pre-warned by governmental authorities that we need to be prepared for the ‘big one’ – food, water, first-aid kit, torchlights, toileting. But are we ready? The truth is – hardly anyone is prepared because it takes too much effort to get ready and we are always thinking of the brighter side of things.
The same is with the Great Tribulation.
D279 - Believers are to be on our guard as we go into the last days
In Matt 25:1-13, Jesus shared the parable of the ten virgins who took their lamps to meet the bridegroom; five were called foolish and five wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but had no oil while the wise took flasks of oil alongside their lamps. The wise ones could trim their lamps when the bridegroom showed up at midnight while the foolish ones were left to go out and buy it for themselves. Jesus commended the wise virgins because they were prepared and watchful.
In Mark 13:23, Jesus explained why he was sharing the events leading to his second coming. It was so that believers can be
‘on your guard; (as) I have told you everything in advance.’
In fact, Paul reminded believers that
‘we are not of night nor of darkness’ so that ‘the day would overtake you (us) like a thief’.
Instead, we are to be alert and sober (1 Thes 5:4-7).
As in the natural, so is the spiritual.
When Covid 19 struck in early 2020, some countries were ready with a pandemic plan while others were simply caught off-guard and unprepared. As a result, many people died from the virus. Most of us live lives without much intensity to prepare.
In the mid-1960s, Pierre Wack through his work in Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest oil companies in the world, helped to develop the concept of scenario-based strategic thinking. Wack set out the essentials in the use of scenarios as instruments for strategy development.
Through his work, the group of Shell executives anticipated the unfolding events in the Middle East in Oct 1973 and were successful in leveraging the oil crisis to their advantage as compared to the reactionary behaviors of their competitors. Shell continues to use scenarios to strengthen their ability to anticipate and adapt to momentous events, including the collapse of the communist Europe in 1989, the surge in world energy demand, and the threat of climate change. For further information, please click HERE.
Shell’s strength was that they were ‘prepared and watchful.’
As in the physical, so it is with the spiritual. While building the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah taught us key principles that we can apply.
Neh 4:18 reads,
“And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.”
One hand on the sword while another was used to build and, at the same time, a watchman was in place.
It is not a strategy of complacency but one that brings faith and works together. We trust God even while we plan.
Prov 21:5 reads,
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”
Prov 6:6-8 also spoke about the ants which ‘planned’ even as they stored their provisions in summer and gathered their food at harvest.’
King David planned for the Temple of God.
The Apostles were engaged deliberately and prayerfully in planning when they designated a team of seven to ‘serve tables’ while they focused on ‘the word of God’ (Acts 6:1-6).
Here are some scenarios that are/ could potentially have an impact on Christians very quickly and which churches and Christians could plan even right at the moment as we are witnessing some of them taking place now:
- New hate speech legislation is implemented. Christians are not permitted to speak up against another religion or gender without legal repercussions,
- The climate change crisis causes immense anxiety among the young in schools and universities. How do Christian parents respond to what their children are taught? Please see HERE.
- Our young children are educated in public schools (and children’s movies) that there are more than two genders – e.g. California Elementary School Teachers may have to teach transgender lessons (see HERE), BBC films used in schools teach children there are 100 genders or more (see HERE). Our children are left confused.
- According to Canadian Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, in three short years between 2017 and 2020, new books and movies have been made to coerce our young children into the message of gender change as being the norm. Please see Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson’s YouTube presentation HERE. How should Christian parents react?
- Christian employees are told to sign employment contracts that require them to support a diversity agenda, including accepting homosexual behavior as normal. What should Christians do in the event of this being true?,
- Employers subtly reject Christians when it comes to employment and promotion because ‘they don’t meet the values of the organization’. See HERE.
- Healthcare professionals are told to sign employment contracts that require them to perform euthanasia and abortion,
- Christians who do not accept the ‘progressive’ values (e.g. Diversity) are branded as ‘bigots’ and hated by their peers,
- Christians are asked by their employers to accept a new monetary system that requires them to have a chip under their skin as part of their employment package.
Like the watchman in Neh 4:18, we appeal to Christian leaders to develop potential scenarios based on biblical prophecies and world events so that they can prepare their people for the future instead of taking a ‘She will be right’ attitude.
Even if you do believe that Christians will not be on earth during the Great Tribulation but be raptured into the clouds, there are still many events that will challenge Christians as we move into the last days.
There is an avalanche of activities and teaching shifting and challenging the very core foundation of Christianity. So much so that if we are not alert, these will overwhelm us and, if not us, it will surely be the next generation.
Believers are to be on our guard as we go into the last days.
D280 - The 666 monetary system becomes mandatory
Rev 13:16 says,
‘Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,
The Greek word for ‘cause’ is poieo or construct/ make/ cause/ commit. NIV and NLT translates it into ‘forced’ and ‘required’ respectively and that probably makes sense. It will be a legal requirement.
The Antichrist suddenly makes the 666 monetary system mandatory; even before that, we suspect, laws will already have been prepared to make this implementation possible.
In a highly urbanized environment where bulk of the population stays in cities and towns, opting out could mean the end of life.
Rev 13:17 expands further by saying that if a person does not have a mark on his right hand or forehead, the person cannot transact. In other words, the person cannot buy and sell. We suspect that it will also prevent us from traveling, hospitalization, and other conveniences that we take for granted in our days.
Believers suddenly become non-persons, social outcasts, and even worse, many will be earmarked for termination.
It is a time when white is now pure white and black is entirely black and there are no more shades of grey.
See S141 – Take on the mark of the beast (666) and S142 – Worship the beast (antichrist) and his image.
You might also be interested to watch this link.
D281 - Believers are to run when danger comes
Jesus explained two scenarios to his disciples when we are to run.
In Matt 24:16, and Mark 13:15, he told them that when we see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, believers are to leave the city immediately for the mountains. Christians are not to be complacent and slow-acting as the price to pay for the latter could be our lives.
Again, he said it in Luke 21:21 but this time explaining that when Jerusalem was surrounded by armies.
We know, from history, that Jerusalem was surrounded by Roman legions under Titus in AD 70 and many were killed while others were taken captives to other nations and Jerusalem was trampled for almost two thousand years until 1948.
But the first scenario, the presence of the abomination of desolation, has not taken place just yet since the time of Jesus.
Around 167 BC, Antiochus Epiphanies did set up an altar to Zeus and offered a pig on the altar in the Temple but that was before Christ declared this event.
Hence, we can anticipate the coming episode of Matt 24:16 in the future.
What did Jesus instructed his followers to do?
He told the Jewish believers to leave the city and run to the mountains.
What about others who are not in Jerusalem?
What happened when persecution started in the early churches? When persecution began in Jerusalem following the martyrdom of Stephen, Christians scattered and traveled to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch (Acts 11:19).
They did not adopt a fatalistic mindset of staying in Jerusalem or took a casual approach toward safety; they left and probably in a hurry too.
When persecution arrives, Christians are to run and hide.
Rev 12:13-14 talks about a time when the dragon (aka Satan) was thrown down to the earth and how he went and pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
‘But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle to fly from the presence of the serpent to her place in the wilderness, where she was nourished for a time, times, and half a time (or 3.5 years)’
Who was the woman? Who was the male child? And where did the woman go?
We could only speculate that the woman was Israel (or a remnant thereof), and the male child was Jesus.
Where did the woman go to?
We are unsure but we know that she was assisted to run away from the presence of the enemy. Where did she hide so that even the dragon could not terminate her? So, there will be parts of the world where the dragon cannot touch?
Jesus said in Matthew 10:18-23:
‘And you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’
The verses in Matthew 10:18-23 parallels the description of the end-times’ warning although it was more of a reminder to his disciples at that time. The exception is found in v 23 when he told them to flee persecution.
The principle remains;
In the face of persecution, if we can run, we must. Christians are not to take a fatalistic view in life.
Prov 22:3 says,
‘The prudent sees danger and hides himself but the simple go on and suffer for it.’ The Bible is a practical book.
Run and hide if possible. We opine that believers can escape the Great Tribulation.
In Luke 21:36, Jesus said,
‘But stay awake at all times (pay attention), praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’
NB: Sometimes, to fulfil the Lord’s will, we might have to be prepared to lay down our lives (instead of running) in order to finish the course that the Lord has assigned for us. The Apostle Paul did so.
Read what he had to say in Acts 20:22-24 –
“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
See also D316 – Believers must look toward the courage of the Apostle Paul.
D282 - In some parts of the world, life for non-believers may function normally
Here is what the Bible says about those days before the coming of our Lord –
‘For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark’ – Matt 24:37.
We believe the secret lies in the translation of the Greek word for ‘earth’ found in these chapters which is ge and it can mean the earth, soil, land, region, country, inhabitants of a region.
Events in Rev 6 to 9 could be isolated to a particular region, even a large part of the world.
Some parts of the world, while still under the authority of the Antichrist, may remain unscathed in terms of a physical war although the 666 financial system will probably be global. We know that during World War 2, many places of the world did not suffer any major catastrophe although they were impacted by it. In these places, people were, in all likelihood, still ‘eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.’
In the Old Testament Book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar wrote a letter to declare God’s Kingdom in Dan 4:1 and he sent it out to ‘all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.’
In other words, he considered himself ruler of all the earth. The Hebrew word for ‘earth’ is ara or the earth/ ground/ land. King Nebuchadnezzar never ruled the entire world but only a very huge region of the Middle-Eastern world.
The Antichrist might rule a huge part of the world especially through the financial system but possibly not some outliers and the hinterland.
D283 - The GT will last for 1,260 days or 42 months
Luke 21:24 calls it the ‘times of the Gentiles’.
Rev 13:5 explains that
‘the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.’
Rev 12:14 calls it that it will be a time, times, and half a time.
In Rev 12:5-6, it details a time when the woman who ‘gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron’ was brought to a place of hiding for a period of 1,260 days (The ‘woman’ is suspected to be the nation of Israel or a remnant thereof).
The implication is that the Great Tribulation will last for 1,260 days; there is a start (D273 – The Great Tribulation begins when the Antichrist declares himself as God at the Temple), and there is an end – after 1,260 days.
3.5 years is a reasonable chunk of time.
D284 - Believers are told to endure and stay awake
The end of times will be tough for all believers. Hence, the Lord is preparing us in advance with the theme of staying awake and enduring (persevering).
Sins will increase. Matt 24:13 calls it the ‘multiplication of wickedness.’ Hence, ‘the love of most will grow cold.’ Bible-believing Christians will stand out like sore thumbs. Hence, Jesus reminded believers of those days to ‘persevere to the end’ in order to be saved. Mark 13:13 says about the same thing –
‘You will be hated by all for my name’s sake (NB: All) but the one who endures to the end will be saved.’
And in Mark 13:37, Jesus emphasized the need for believers to ‘stay awake’ or ‘keep watch.’
The theme of Luke 21:34-36 is to
‘keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.’
Again, the theme is to endure and stay awake.
1 Thes 5:4-7 says the same thing – ‘Let us not sleep as others do but let us be alert and sober.’ Again, a consistent theme.
The Great Tribulation spells tough days for believers who decide not to take on the mark of the beast and hence forfeit the chance to buy and sell. It may include imprisonment and on the extreme death.
Rev 14:12 says,
‘Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep; the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.’
Again, the theme is endurance and perseverance.
We see the same in Rev 16:15 where the words are
‘Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.’
Stay awake and endure just before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has promised he will return. He will not neglect his children who cry out every moment for justice (Rev 6:10).
D316 - Believers can look towards the courage of the Apostle Paul and our Lord Jesus
Acts 20:23-24 reads, ‘except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.’
Meanwhile, Acts 21:12-13 says, ‘When we heard this (the prophecy of Agabus of Judea who said that Paul would be bound and delivered to the Gentiles if he decided to go to Jerusalem), we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”’
Paul knew what was coming if he showed up in Jerusalem. Nonetheless, he chose to proceed and was psychologically ready for any eventual consequences, including the possibility of losing his life.
We have a similar example in the case of our Lord Jesus.
Luke 9:51 reads, ‘When the days drew near for him to be (crucified and then) taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.’ The Greek word for setting his face is sterizo and it can be translated as ‘fix firmly/ strengthen/ establish’. Some other translation versions use the word, ‘resolutely’ and that is appropriate. We know Jesus had his struggles being 100% human as seen in Matthew 26:39 when Jesus cried out to the Father with these words, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.’
Yet, we are also aware in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus ‘endured the cross (and suffering), despising the shame (the Son of God was naked and nailed to the cross, the ultimate form of shameful punishment), and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (his hope even as he endured the cross).’
Just like Paul and Jesus, we know for certain that the Great Tribulation will arrive (It is in the Bible and that is part of God’s will).
Christians who live through sufferings will have to adopt the courage of the Apostle Paul – to be ready to be imprisoned and possibly even to die for the name of our Lord Jesus. And of course, we will always have the example of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21).
In John 2, at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus turned water into wine. Interestingly, in John 2:10, the master of the feast exclaimed, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. BUT YOU HAVE KEPT THE GOOD WINE UNTIL NOW (at the very end).’
If the ‘good wine at the start of the wedding’ represented those fervor and fearless founding disciples who laid down their lives for our Lord Jesus Christ, then surely, the wine that appears at the end of times will be a demonstration of our Lord’s miraculous intervention to ‘keep the best wine (and Christians) for the very end.’
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come!!!
See also D128, Believers grow through trials, sufferings, and testing.