My goal for this study is to inform both Christians and non-Christians of the time period the Bible says we are soon approaching. For the believer in Christ, this will serve as an informational source to sharpen your understanding of Scripture, but for the unbeliever, it is a warning posed by the Bible for those who will be left behind after the rapture of the Church. Through this study of the tribulation, I hope to inform skeptics of the truth and necessity of the gospel.
Time is short and this study is one of the many ways I’m using to communicate that. In part 1 of this study, we delved into what the tribulation is, how it starts, as well as its purpose. In the second part of this study, I’ll take a look at what will occur during the tribulation, how you can escape if you are not a believer in Christ, and when the tribulation will occur. Here I hope to flesh out more of what the Bible says will take place during these 7 years, how we know the tribulation is near, and how those who have not yet called upon the name of the Lord can escape the coming tribulation.
During the Tribulation
The tribulation will be a time of never before seen violence, death, disease, economic upheaval, deception, and nature and the supernatural turning on mankind like never before. Some of these factors can and will be caused by humans; however, the majority of it will derive from the supernatural realm which will then find its way into the physical world.
For one, Satan and his angels will have free reign on Earth as they will be kicked out of heaven and be bound to the earth. He will unleash his wrath on mankind and even use an individual known as the Antichrist who will be empowered for his purposes. “…The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority” (Rev. 13:2, NKJV).
This period of time is not only categorized by Satan’s wrath (Rev. 12:7-9, 12, NKJV) but also by God’s judgments upon the world on an unrepentant mankind. These judgments consist of 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls. On the surface, the judgments appear to be an angry God attempting to wipe out mankind, but in reality, it is Him being merciful to those that haven’t yet come to the saving knowledge of Jesus.
I am sure this sounds ironic, that God punishes the world out of mercy, but think of it this way: wouldn’t an all-powerful God be able to wipe out the earth in the blink of an eye and then, from there, just start the final judgment of humanity? Such a feat shouldn’t be impossible for Him, so why doesn’t He just end it quickly instead of letting it continue for 7 long years?
The Bible states that God doesn’t delight in the punishment of the wicked but would rather everyone come to repentance (Ezek. 18:23, Ezek. 33:11). Through His judgments, God wants to shake people “awake.” He wants people to truly come to the knowledge and understanding of what this world really is and what is going on. Nowadays, many people won’t believe in God because they don’t see the evidence for such a belief. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, and we have the free will to believe or not believe what we want. However, that freedom comes with its consequences.
What happens if such evidence is brought to the surface in such a radical way it can’t be dismissed? During this period of time, mankind will know where these judgments are coming from. Many will believe the gospel and repent, but even more will remain steadfast in their rebellion. At this point, who else can they blame but themselves?
- And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17, NKJV).
- In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven (Rev. 11:13, NKJV).
- Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory (Rev. 16:8-9, NKJV).
Although God will make Himself known very clearly to the world, so will Satan. He will work through the Antichrist to deceive everyone on Earth. The Antichrist will have with him someone the Bible calls the “false prophet” who will deceive the earth through his false signs and wonders and will cause the inhabitants of the world to worship the Antichrist as god.
He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast (Rev. 13:13-14, NKJV).
Although many people will realize the truth once the rapture occurs, there will still be unprecedented deception that the world will ever experience as the supernatural and natural intertwine. What the vast majority of the world believed to be fairy tales and myths will soon be the norm.
The end goal for the Antichrist is total control over everyone on Earth which will find its ultimate fulfillment in what the Bible calls the “mark of the beast” (Rev. 13:16-17, NKJV). Everyone on Earth will have only 2 options once this is implemented: to take the mark or to refuse it. Revelation 20:4 tells us exactly what happens to those who refuse it,
…Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands (Rev. 20:4, NKJV).
However, a stern warning is offered to those who may be thinking of taking the mark or have already done so.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:9-11, NKJV)
Taking the mark of the beast will ensure the damnation of that person whether they’re unsaved or saved. However, not taking it will ensure that person’s death. This in itself will be a final test of sorts to decide whose side people are on. Although many will be killed for not taking the mark, they will have retained their salvation and find themselves before God’s throne immediately (Rev. 15:2-3, NKJV).
“When will these things be?”
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matt. 24:3, NKJV)
The goal of this study isn’t to pin a date of the rapture or when I believe the tribulation begins – because none of us can know. However, Jesus commands His followers to watch for the signs of the times and we are told we’ll know the season of the Lord’s return – IF we watch (Luke 12:37, Luke 21:34-36, 1 Thess. 5:4-6, Rev. 16:15).
It is my belief and that of many other Christians that we are in that season. We are seeing technology advance with breakneck speed: DNA altering technology and making our time parallel to the days of Noah, AI gaining human-like intelligence and bringing into question if an advanced AI robot could be the “image of the beast,” and with human implantable microchips, we could be seeing the precursors of the mark of the beast.
We are currently in the 71st year since Israel became a nation in May 1948, and with it, we’re seeing increased efforts for the 3rd temple to be built (where the abomination of desolation will occur) as well as Jewish Rabbis expecting their “messiah” soon. The US is ready to reveal their Middle East peace plan after the 2nd round of Israeli elections in September, and US President Donald Trump is slowly pulling US troops out of Syria, creating a vacuum that Russia, Iran, and Turkey will fill, the 3 nations in Ezekiel 38-39 that will come against Israel in the last days. We’re also seeing increased aggression and threats from Iran and its proxies against Israel and vice versa setting up prophecies like Isaiah 17 and Zechariah 12.
If that wasn’t enough, many have taken notice of the increased efforts for world religions to come together for interfaith dialogue for the sake of tolerance and peace. Scientists are also baffled at the increase of severity and frequency of natural disasters – what the Bible calls birth pangs. One of the more notable signs of the looming tribulation is what seems to be a confirmation of the great earthquake in Revelation 11:13 that the Bible says will occur in Israel during the midpoint of the tribulation.
I’ve only mentioned a few things many Christians are paying attention to, but all of these signs are converging on our time period like no other time in history. At this point, God is yelling at us to wake up before the tribulation comes upon the world like a snare. Although I can’t tell you when the tribulation will occur, we can clearly see we are in the season of the Lord’s return. In all honesty, I don’t believe we even have 20 years of this current time period if even that. Of course, I’m not God and may be wrong, but based on where the world’s headed and how quickly prophecy is lining up and being fulfilled, I believe His return for the church is very near. That means the tribulation is right at the door as well.
How can you Escape?
The Bible tells us clearly that the tribulation is for those that didn’t accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The only way to escape before this time is to do just that. For those that one day discover millions of people have disappeared from the earth in the rapture of the Church, the good news is that it’s not too late to accept Jesus even then.
Sadly there is no “escaping” the things that will befall the earth at that point. Satan will be doing everything within his power to deceive people from the truth and have those that choose to side with God killed. Despite this, millions and probably billions of people will come to the truth and accept God’s free gift of salvation through Christ in what may be the largest “harvest” of souls to Christ that even exceeds the 2,000-year history of the Church! They will be counted as the innumerable number of “tribulation saints.”
Although we all have the free will to reject or accept the free gift of salvation, if you are not a believer, I hope you will consider what I presented in this study and do your own research. You can go here to learn more about why we need salvation in the first place. Also, navigate to my commentary page to stay up-to-date with the latest events and Bible prophecy as we watch Christ’s return draw nearer and the tribulation cast an ever-growing shadow in our current time. Time is short and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Why don’t you accept Christ today?
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on himitsustudy.com
Featured Image by Jason Wong