What is the World Coming to? (Part 6)
Greetings precious people.
Over the past five weeks we have been looking at what the Bible, Godís Word, has to say about what is the world coming to. If you would like a copy of the past five articles, you may request them from the address below. Last time, we looked at the first of three sets of judgements that God will pour out upon this world. These are known as the Seal Judgements. They are found in Revelation six and eight. They consist of seven distinct judgements. It must be understood that all of these judgements are a result of manís rebelliousness against God, his Creator. God in His mercy and grace has been very longsuffering with sinful and rebellious man. God has given man plenty of warning and time to repent. But, like in the days of Noah, man has turned a deaf ear to God. Now it is time for man to pay for his stubbornness.
Nestled in between the sixth and seventh Seal Judgements is chapter seven of Revelation. This chapter holds a number of insightful truths regarding some of the happenings of the Tribulation. First, we are told in Revelation 7:1, "After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree." Think of the effects this will have on the ecological system in view of the first six Seal Judgements. No breeze to move the air. With all the death, the stench will be unbearable.
We are also told in Revelation 7:2-8, "Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads." And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed."
One of the most important truths that we see is that, contrary to popular belief, God is not finished with the people of Israel. These verses only work together with other verses to prove this. As Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 11:24-33, "For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" I encourage you to read this chapter in its entirety to gain the fullness of what is being said.
God has a major plan and purpose for the Jewish people during this time of the Tribulation. He will save 12,000 from each tribe, totaling 144,000. There have been many false notions about these 144,000. For instance, the Jehovah Witnessí say these 144,000 are Jehovah Witness, even though it clearly states that they are from specific tribes of Israel. Some believe that they will be evangelists during this time.
In saving these 144,000, God will place his "seal" of mark upon them identifying them as His. This is in contrast to that which the anti Christ will do to those that reject Jesus Christ during the Tribulation. The anti Christ will, as we are told in Revelation 13, cause everyone, great and small, to take the mark of the Beast. Weíll look at this in greater detail when we get to this chapter.
These 144,000 Jews will not be the only ones that will be saved during the Tribulation. For in Revelation 7:9-17, "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen." Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
As you can see, there will be a great multitude of people saved during the Tribulation. But it should be understood it will come at a high price, your life. Again I draw your attention to Revelation 13. In verses 14-18, we read, "And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666."
Some foolishly think they will become a Christian during the Tribulation. If a person is not willing to live for Jesus now, it is highly unlikely that they will choose to die for Him then. Precious people, turn to Jesus Christ today. Repent of your sins and place all your faith in Jesus.
Next time, we will look at the second set of judgements, the Trumpet Judgements. Until then, may the Lord richly bless you.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine