What is God’s Purpose for: Disasters, Epidemics, Tragedies, Wars, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Massacres, Terrorist Attacks & All Other Bad Things? An Opportunity For People to Change Their Mind About God = (Repentance) Luke 13:1-5This is a 20 lesson course on the final book of the Bible. Revelation’s 404 verses contain over 800 quotations, allusions, and connections to the rest of the Bible. There is no new doctrine contained in these 22 chapters, only a clarification on how they will come to pass. This is the ONLY book of the Bible Jesus came down to supervise as the conclusion of God’s Revelation. Moses went up to God to get the Pentateuch; Jesus came down to Earth on Patmos to show John what to write.
Welcome to our 12th class, which might have one of the most intriguing titles of any of the classes we share: Why Does God Send The Tribulation? Why does God send a time period when more than a fourth, probably half, of everybody on Earth dies. That’s basically what we’re studying in Revelation 6 to 18. We’ve come to right here, we’re in this middle section of the book of the Revelation. Actually, the second coming of Christ is the culmination of the tribulation. So, we’re right in the middle of the book of Revelation.
As you see on your screen, why does God send the tribulation? This is our 12th of 20 lessons going through the 404 verses that are in the book of Revelation. They quote or allude to, or actually give the explanation of, to over 800 other passages in the Bible.
There again, the chart. Remember the two very important parts, those of you who are taking this for credit through the different Bible institutes that are watching this, you will need to know this outline. That’s why I showed it every time. It will come in all different forms on both your quizzes and your final exam. That’s why it’s there. It’s also on the slide in front of you. Notice that I don’t quite put all the wording on the board that you see on the slide. Like Heaven, I put- dwelling with God in eternity in Heaven. Basically, it’s for you to be able to, for example… on the quiz, it’ll say during the second coming of Christ in Revelation 5, would that be true or false? Look at the chart. Right false. The second coming is in chapter 19. I’m not trying to trick you, it’s just do you know it or not?
Let’s open the chapter 6. I’m going to read only a couple of verses before we pray, because we’re going to be touching on them, looking at the words in them.
It says in chapter 6 verse 1. “Now I saw when the lamb opened one of the seals;”
Now skip down to verse 8. “So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them.” This is only one of the seals, the fourth seal. “And power was given to them over a fourth of the Earth, to kill with sword.” Wow. 25% of the world is killed.
If you go a little bit later into chapter 9, if you look at chapter 9:15, it says a third of mankind was killed. Now just for a second, let me do the math. I wasn’t a wiz in math, but 25% in one event in chapter 6 are killed, and 33% in chapter 9 are killed. Look at this 58%. Now, the reason I said about half is, it’s a third of the 25% are already gone. It’s a third of the remainder. It’s about half of all humans die.
Why did I read that text? What an awful thing to read. Doesn’t that make you wonder, why would God, who said that He is the author of life; He’s the creator of the universe; and He’s not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3 says), why does He send the tribulation to kill more than half of all the people on Earth?
That’s what we’re going to study. Let’s bow together for word to prayer.
Father in Heaven. Thank you that you are with us. Thank you, as we’ve already seen in earlier classes, every time we pray for your kingdom to come we’re praying for this event, not just your kingdom to come in my life and in our lives, but for your kingdom to come to end Satan’s rebellion. So, I pray that through this class, everyone with a heart to understand your word, and ear to hear, that they would understand why you, Oh, God would send the tribulation. In the name of Jesus we pray.
That brings us to the next slide, look at that. What is God’s purpose for disasters, epidemics, tragedies, wars, Earthquakes, tsunamis, massacres, terrorist attacks, and all other bad things. Do you see on the screen? It’s an opportunity for people to change their mind about God. That’s what repentance is. So why does God send the tribulation? For the very reason that Jesus Christ told us. I’ve already said that Revelation, this book, is all repeated information from other parts of the Bible, from all the rest of Bible. There’s nothing new. There’s nothing first time. Greek term hapax legomenon. There isn’t anything that is only revealed for the first time here.
What did Jesus say in Luke 13? You can turn there, and I’ll trek through it with you. This is a great passage for all of you that are going to be teaching the Bible, that are going to be explaining the Bible, that are going to be sharing the gospel with anyone. I think that would then cover all of us because we’re all to go into all the world and share the gospel.
Jesus once had a Q&A. In chapter 13 it says, “there were present in that season some who told Him”, that’s Jesus – this is Luke 13:1, “about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.”
- That was a horror story.
- A group of people walking in with their lambs to the temple were killed by Pilates Roman soldiers.
- The soldiers with their swords not only killed the pilgrims, they’d killed the sheep they were carrying.
- The blood of the pilgrims was mixed with the blood of the sacrificial animals, that they were carrying.
- That was a disaster.
“And Jesus answered and said to the…” This is the most unusual answer until you see the larger context. “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?’ “
Most people think disasters happen to people because there’s something wrong with them. Like in Minneapolis when the great interstate highway bridge over the river, a few years back, broke and cars plunged into the water and people drowned. Immediately some people thought, you know there’s probably something they did, you know, fate got them, or God judged them. No, no. Jesus said, do you think they were worse?
Verse 3. “I tell you, no;” We’re all equally infected. We’re all sinners. No one has died yet in the 42,000 people so far, as of this morning, that have died in the current COVID-19 pandemic that weren’t going to already die because the wages of sin is what? Death. Look at this. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Look back at your side. An opportunity for people to change their mind about God. Repent.
- Repentance is a changing of the mind, about something that leads to a change of our actions, of our direction.
- It starts right here with our mind.
- God sends the tribulation to change people’s minds about who He is.
- That He is the Creator.
- That He did come to Earth as Redeemer.
- That He will judge all who do not put their faith in Christ.
Then Jesus said, how about the “18 on the whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no…” Then here it is, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
What Jesus said is; indiscriminate disasters, epidemics, tragedies, wars, Earthquakes, tsunamis, massacres, terror attacks, and the tribulation are all to bring people the opportunity to repent.
Number one. Lesson number one, life is fragile. The Lord reminds us in His word that our life is but a vapor. It just appears for a little while and then we vanish away.
Number two. Deaths is inevitable. Though a few of us will be privileged to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye at Christ’s coming; every other human on Earth only has one thing to look forward to. An appointment with death, as it says in Hebrews 9. But praise God, Christ is the answer.
You notice, I wrote that up here because I think as COVID-19 wears down, and it just becomes a seasonal illness and life gets back to normal in our world; there are going to be a lot of people that every time there’s a new bird flu, or a big tsunami, or an Earthquake, or some other disaster, or a plane crash they’re going to go, oh, and they’ll get afraid again. You say, why does God send the tribulation and all the other things that happen around us? To remind us before we forget, life is fragile. We’re a heartbeat away from eternity. A breath away. Death is inevitable because all have sinned, and Christ is the only answer.
Christ is the only answer. Global deaths in 2020, with or without COVID-19 are:
- two people die every second,
- 7,000 every hour,
- 163,000 every day and
- 60 million people will die this year…
Just because death is inevitable. Our lives, our bodies are fragile.
So, the purpose of this course is, to understand Christ wrath.
Now remember one of the attributes of God, remember theologians have discovered that there are 20 plus attributes of God, this is God revealing who He is. One of them most of us don’t even think about is that God is revealed, as characterized by wrath.
Some other one:
- The first one everyone would say is love, right? God is love.
- The Omnis, all the omniscient and omnipotent and all those Omni’s.
- But what about this one? It’s like wrath. God is a jealous God. Wow. There are over 20 of them.
- He is faithful and
- He’s wise and
- He keeps His word.
- That He’s immutable, that he doesn’t change.
But wrath and jealousy. Why does God send the tribulation? Because His wrath, He’s storing up against sin and He’s jealous for everything that we pursue other than our creator. If we want to understand Christ wrath, the best way to do so is to look at chapter 6, that we’re going to see today and this verse. Look at 2 Peter with me. I’m just going to read it to you. 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 4.
“And saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning”. Who’s talking? Verse 3 of chapter 3, “scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lust.”
God’s wrath is because He hears all that scoffing. He sees all that sin. He so loved that He sent the answer, Jesus Christ. He is so powerful. So present. So knowing. But He’s a jealous God who, because of His justice and mercy will always punish sin.
Revelation 6 opens with a period known in the Bible as the great tribulation. To some, hearing talk about the impending arrival of the tribulation, that the world has never known makes them think it’s another science fiction story, a delusion of alarmist Christians.
Scoffers often mockingly ask, where’s the promise of His coming? Everything’s been going on since the beginning of creation, why is God delaying? The reason God is delaying is, the mystery of God’s patience. That’s another thing about God. He’s very patient in His attributes.
Let’s see what is going to happen on this world. This chart on the slides, again is a kind of a visual. I want you to see the flow of the book. Christ church is on Earth, because God loves so much that He wants all of us in the church to go, into all the world and share the gospel and tell people your life is fragile.
That’s a great way to witness. I share the gospel often with people. I say, and I’ve done this, it’s terrible that I do this but if the setting is right. I remember I was having our car fixed. We were in Minnesota visiting my son. We were in this big, cavernous garage where we were checking in. The man with his iPad came up all chipper and he says, ah, checking in your car Mr. Barnett. We got to talk, and he was friendly. So, I said, Hey, Can I ask you something. He says sure and he tucked the iPad under his arm here. I said, hey if this a big steel beam that’s holding this building up crushed you, it fell down and crushed you right now, do you know where you’d spend eternity? He looked right at me, then he looked up and took a step over. He hadn’t thought of that thing falling. He took a step over out from under it and said, Oh, why do you ask? I pulled out my track, out of my wallet and shared the gospel with him. It was just about a three-minute little blip.
I want people to realize their life is fragile. I want them to realize it might not be that big steel beam falling but life is so fragile, that death is inevitable, and Jesus Christ is the only answer. That’s why we’re here on Earth, but then we leave the Earth. In the doctrine called the, harpazo is the Greek word, the rapture that’s the Latin word, where Christ takes His church out as promised in all those verses on the screen.
While we’re in Heaven we give an account for our lives. Remember the shopping cart that we come up and put into the river of fire and whatever doesn’t burn up we receive from Christ as our crown, and that launches the tribulation. The tribulation ends with the second coming of Jesus Christ, His establishment as ruler, sitting on the throne of His father, David. Even in a perfect world, the final rebellion takes place and the great white throne and then dwelling with God forever, in Heaven.
That’s the lesson that we see, of the patience of God.
- He works with the church on Earth, while the church is in Heaven.
- He sends in the tribulation time the 144,000,
- the two witnesses,
- He sends the angel preaching the gospel at the height of the horrors.
- He’s offering salvation because God’s so loves that He gave Christ as the answer.
Now, chapter 6. I just want to go through the first verse with you, one word at a time, and I want you to learn a lesson. Remember I reminded you, you should watch the video that’s available with your course that talks about how to do your devotional journal. Where you summarize one chapter of the book of Revelation, where you write down all the lessons as the truths, the principles, all of the doctrines you see in there. Then you write a prayer where you apply those truths to your life. Remember that’s the devotional method. That’s your biggest project for those of you taking this course for credit. It’s 60% of your grade, doing each of the 22 chapters. Finding, summarizing what chapter one is about. I’ve told you so many times, it’s when Christ reveals Himself to John on Patmos. What lessons do you see there? Then you do that for every chapter. You find all of the truths and principles. Then this is the hardest part, you write that application. Prayer. Let me show you how to do that in one verse. So, this will be easy when you get to chapter 6, all of you doing this for credit, you’ll already know what to write.
There are 29 words, and we need to ponder every one of them in this chapter here in this verse.
Truth, number one, “Now I saw”. Those are the first three words of this verse. You know what that means?
- One of the keys that unlocks the events attributed to the tribulation is John’s personal testimony. His use of the phrase, “now I saw” in English, comes from Greek phrase, kai eidov, literally I saw. God directs and inspires John to use that phrase all the way through the book of Revelation.
- This phrase shows us the chronological progression. John is walking and says, now I saw, and he walks a little further. Now I saw, walks a little further. Now I saw. He’s transported by the angel. Now I saw.
- In fact, that term/that phrase is found 24 times. Chapter 6:1, 2, 5, 8,12. Chapter 7:2. Chapter 8:2,13. Chapter 9:1. Chapter 10:1, Chapter 13:1, 11 and all the way through to chapter 20:11.
- It’s a chronological progression, just like this from chapter 1, all the way through the ending.
Now I saw means, see on the screen, that the events of Revelation are presented like one long chronological event. Never forget that. There are people say, oh no, no… this can’t mean this, this belongs there, and no this is over there. No, no. God gave us a movie. It’s like a shooting script and you get to read it.
Truth number two. “When the Lamb opened”, the next four words. No other book in the Bible is introduced and given as a revelation about Jesus Christ. What is it exactly, that God tells us He gave this church? Particularly this book, verse 1 of chapter 1; for the church. As we read, we find:
- Jesus is the risen Savior.
- He’s the glorified Son, but that’s not all.
- He’s the Alpha and Omega, verse 5 of chapter 1.
- He’s the Beginning and the End, verse 8.
- He is the Almighty, verse 8.
- The First and the Last.
Basically, this book reveals that Jesus is the central character; not the beast, not the seals, not the demons from the pit, not the antichrist, not anything but Christ. He is the central character.
“The Lamb opened”. It’s the Lamb right here that opens the first seal. That goes through the seventh seal, which when it’s open starts the seven trumpets. When the seventh trumpet sounds, the seven bowls start. Every event in Revelation is tied to the central character and that’s Jesus Christ.
Truth number three. Look at the next four words, “one of the seals;” When we looked at chapter 4, a few days back, we saw God seated on the throne in Heaven. Then in chapter five, we saw a scroll in His right hand with seven seals. The seals of the scroll couldn’t be opened by anyone, but the risen Savior, the crucified Creator that’s now allowed to start the conquests. That’s what we’re studying here, the Lamb that was slain is starting the conquest back, of planet Earth from the rebellion from Satan.
“One of the seals;” truth number three, reveals that God bases all of the tribulation judgments, on the reality of His title deed to the universe as the creator and the owner. The scene in chapter 5 is:
- God’s sitting on the throne and the seal is sitting there, right next to His right hand.
- He picks up that seal and hands it to the Lamb, Jesus Christ, the central character.
- That is after the Lamb shows Himself to John, inspects the churches, leads the worship of the saints in Heaven.
- Right here in chapter 6 He takes that scroll from the hand of the Majesty on High and starts breaking those seven seals, which launches this entire horror show.
Truth number four. “And I heard…” the book of Revelation identifies the writer is John the apostle. Four times, John is called the writer of this book.
- Chapter 1:1.
- Chapter 1:4.
- Chapter 1:9.
- And all the way at the end in chapter 22:8.
So, from beginning to end, the whole book is authenticated as coming through the messenger, John the apostle. The early church universally taught that the same John who is Christ apostle, wrote a gospel, three epistles, and Revelation. According to church history, the book of Revelation was written in the last decade of the first century. Basically, Revelation was written somewhere around 94 to 96 AD. John was exiled to that island by Domitian. Domitian’s reign ends here.
- So, John is still in exile by Domitian, and
- before 96 AD God used John to write the book of Revelation.
- John is old.
- He’s a prisoner on Patmos.
- He’s banished for his bold preaching. That’s what verse 9 says.
- “I heard” is a reminder that John the apostle, personally witnessed these events.
Truth number five. The next thing we see is, “one of the four living creatures saying with a loud voice like thunder,” Whoa, now that takes us right back to here. What creature are we’re talking about? Those four cherubim that are always circling the throne. We’re talking about the scene of the throne of God and Heaven. One of the four living creatures with a voice like thunder, emphasizes God’s judgment. Which always issues from another one of His attributes. God is holy. In fact, that’s the most emphasized of all the attributes. It’s the only one that comes to us in a triple form, which is the ultimate emphasis. So, God’s judgment, His wrath and His jealousy flow from His holiness.
Truth number six, the last one from the first verse, the last three words of it. “Come and see”. That states to us, that God wants us to know His plans. He asked John to share those plans with us. We are allowed to see what no Old Testament prophet ever understood. Peter tells us, they searched, and they tried to figure it out. They never saw the difference between the coming of Christ and the second coming. Finally, John is allowed to explain that.
We can say this, the first 29 words say, six truths to us.
- “Now I saw,” it’s one long chronological event.
- “When the lamb opened”, Jesus is a central character.
- “One of the seals”, the judgments are in reality the Creator and owner of the universe claiming the title deed.
- “And I heard”, John witnessed these events,
- “one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder,” God’s judgment, always issues from His holiness.
- “Come and see”, God, He wants us to know His plans.
Look at this next slide I have on that screen, what I’m showing you here is, the book of Revelation is one of those stacked doll sets. I remember when we went to Russia, they were called matryoshka dolls. When you bought this big doll, wooden doll or plastic, and you lift the lid off, there’s another, just a little bit smaller one inside. You go, Oh, it is a little different. So, you take that one out and put the head on this one. The second one, you lift the head off and there’s another one. The more you pay for it, the more inter-connected, nested dolls there are, inside of the original one. That’s what the book of Revelation is like.
- The book of the Revelation starts with this title deed, taken from the right hand of the Majesty on High by the Lamb of God, with seven seals. Remember, it’s like a roll of paper towel and you couldn’t start the roll until you broke the first seal.
- When the Lamb broke that seal, it starts those judgments.
- What’s interesting is when you get to the seventh seal and chapter 8:1, the seventh seal actually launches the first trumpet.
- See, this launches, this. The seven trumpets one, two, three, four, five, six,
- and the seventh trumpet launches the first bowl.
- So, it’s like they’re interconnected.
All issuing from the holiness of God, exhibited in His wrath, after demonstrating His patient love. All of that issues into this mega destruction. Revelation 6 to 8, we see seven seals. Then come to seven trumpets in 8 through 11. Then the seven bowls in chapter 16. Basically, you see, that we could say that the first three and a half years of the tribulation would be about here. So, it’s the idea of 42 months here, from the seals. Then in rapid succession from the midpoint, another 42 months, three and a half years to the ending.
Everything about the book of Revelation is amazingly symmetrical.
- Seven seals,
- seven trumpets,
- seven bulls,
- seven years in two halves, 42 months,
- 42 months to bring the culmination of the second coming of Christ and His rule on Earth.
Let’s talk now about some of the things that everybody has heard in Revelation. Those seals in chapter 6, the first two verses is the Conqueror.
- What we see in the beginning of the tribulation in this first seal is, what’s on that slide on the far left. The white horse and the one who’s coming “a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
- Verses 1 & 2 say the second seal of the seven seals is the conflict on Earth. Peace is taken and people kill one another. And a great sword. There’s a lot of unrest on the Earth at the launch of the tribulation.
- The third seal is scarcity, starting in verse 5. It’s the black horse. You see the third one there from the left. The black horse had a pair of scales. He’s talking about the starvation, scarcity of food.
- The fourth seal, which we already read, starts in verse 7 and he’s the pale horse. With that fourth seal right here, is what we see happening with the beginning of the massacre that’s going on in the Earth. So, that is very, very much likely happening, as you saw in my little diagram, in the first half of the tribulation. A fourth of the people die. What’s interesting is, as we’ll see in a moment, how they die. It says they die through thērion, which are savage, vicious beasts. Some people think it means lions, tigers, snakes. It’s interesting, this word is also very much used for microscopic and even smaller than microscopic such as in viruses, as in what we’re seeing. Most think that COVID-19 is just a foretaste, to have millions of people infected in such a short period of time. Just think when a fourth of the Earth is infected.
- The fifth seal is the cry of martyrs. We saw yesterday in our class about the virus contact tagging that’s going on with Apple and with Google. There’s going to come a time when the antichrist, who shows up in the tribulation, is going to use the ability we have with computers to actually hunt down Christians. That fifth seal is martyrdom of every believer he confined. Either you deny Christ or you’re a martyr.
- The sixth seal is interesting, starting in verse 12 of chapter 6, it says “there was a great Earthquake; the sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of Heaven fell to the Earth,” The sky recedes. What’s going on here? It’s basically a cosmic Earthquake in which, in this series of events, 60% of people died.
Now, what are some of the things that God says? One thing we see from all this is in-escapable, climate change is coming. I think I hear on the news every day that; Oh, the carbon footprint for this or the methane gas for that.
In fact, this morning I was reading the British paper and they said that they developed a little mask over the nose of every cow. They’re putting one of those masks on every cow in England, because they want to cut methane production by a certain percentage to save the world from climate change.
- God says in-escapable climate change is coming.
- God said that plants and animals will be decimated.
- The ocean, lakes, and rivers will be poisoned.
- The air will become so polluted it will be deadly.
- Solar flares and meteor showers are going to become lethal.
For us, we come back to this: why does God send the tribulation for believers? It’s the inexplicable mystery of why God has waited so long to stop evil. In chapter 19, what happens is:
- Jesus comes and
- when He comes, He rights all wrongs.
- No one escapes.
There’s going to be no one that gets away. We have people that find a technicality, their case is thrown out and they committed some heinous murder. There was a technicality and they’re released. Guess what? The second coming of Christ is that
- the justice,
- the holiness,
- the all-knowing God of wrath that loves so much,
- He rights all wrongs.
God seemingly just looks on over the centuries. As missionaries are slain and churches are burned to the ground. Millions and millions of people are oppressed and living in despair. Apparently, God doesn’t intervene. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t do anything. Sin just develops and goes on. The mystery is: why does God delay?
Somewhere beyond the starry skies, there’s a herald angel with a trumpet. By the decree of the Lord God almighty, there’s a day, an hour and a moment when Christ will return. It’s kicked off by the tribulation. It’s culminated by the Judge who rights all wrongs, returning.
Let me give you an overview of the end of days in Revelation:
- Chapter 6 starts the judgments by the sixth seal. That takes place in Revelation 6:12-17.
- We have an Earthquake. God sends such a big Earthquake in 6:17.
- At the end of this chapter, the sun becomes black as sackcloth.
- The moon gets a tinge because the atmosphere is so full of dust, like blood and meteors start falling.
Just imagine as the scenes flash by, do you know what the people on Earth are going to feel like? Let me read verse 15 with you for just a moment and think about watching this happen.
Chapter 6, verse 15 “and the kings of the Earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty man, every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in 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…”
We just went through these six seals and they say, the great day is coming. What I like to say is Revelation 6-8, it’s like a movie trailer. Each of the disasters is only a preview of the devastating fire of God, which He said thousands of years ago, He’s going to destroy the heavens and the Earth.
This beginning, these seals we see starting in chapter 6 are followed by even more devastation, are followed by even greater devastation that culminates here. Amazing to think about. John sees angelic creatures falling like burning meteors to the Earth, holding a key in his hand.
Do you mind if I give you a little preview? Look at the next slide. This is the real horror of the tribulation. We’re not going to cover this for a couple of days. Look at chapter 9, more and more people are gravitating toward movies. I know all the theaters are closed right now and everybody’s streaming something. When movie season is going full force, about half of all the movies have some type of a supernatural element to them.
Look what happens, chapter 9, verse 3, I call it when the real horror is unleashed. It’s right here in the middle of the seals, trumpets, and bowls right her. Chapter 9, verse 3 right there, this is the moment where the real horror is unleashed. I’ll read it.
Starting in verse 1, “the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from Heaven to the Earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.” Verse two. “He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit […] the sun and the air were darkened…” Verse three, “out of the smoke locusts came upon the Earth. And to them was given power, as scorpions…” Whoa!
Demons rush out of that pit and sweep across the face of the Earth like a dark thick plague of locusts. If the terrifying quake of chapter 6 seemed bad, this is so much more terrifying.
- There’s nowhere to go.
- There’s no escape.
- There’s no secure room.
- Because these creatures aren’t stopped by physical barriers.
- They’re demonic.
- They’re spirit beings. What comes with them?
Verse 17 of chapter 9, the massacre arrives. A world terrorized, it says in verse 10 of chapter 9, for 150 days. Now, that’s something to fear. The searing pain is about to be replaced with horrific deaths. In 9:17, the sixth angel sounds. That’s when, look at this, a third of all humanity die.
It’s interesting, I’ve been watching the New York Times talking about the flu epicenter in America’s New York City. People are dying there so rapidly, that they’re having trouble burying them all. They’re renting semi-trucks and parking them. They’re stacking people’s bodies and body bags in them. They’ve started this trench on this island, where they’ve always buried nameless people. Now they’re burying boxes by the hundreds in that long trench. There is drone footage showing these forklifts, taking stacks of caskets and putting them into the ground and bulldozers.
Did you know, during the tribulation, there’s going to be no way to, in an orderly fashion, deal with the death and carnage and destruction. What’s the conclusion to all this? 2 Peter 3, and remember, there’s nothing new here, it’s just an explanation of everything else. That’s why it’s very hard to stay only in the book of Revelation. To understand each piece, you have to go back where it came from.
2 Peter, where we already saw the scoffers. Look at 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 10. When you talk about climate change, this is the alternate climate change. Chapter 3, verse 10 of 2 Peter, “the day of the Lord…” Remember the day of the Lord? It, in the Old Testament, refers to the entire tribulation period culminated by the second coming. Day of the Lord.
So, Peter’s talking about this entire event which we would call ,Revelation 6-19, “but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the Earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
There’s a fire coming that melts the entire universe down to the atomic level, the elements. In Greek, this is the word they used for the basic particles. We would call them atoms and subatomic particles.
Now here’s the lesson, everything unconnected to God burns. Look at verse 11. “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved…” The universe is going to dissolve. “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”
Wait a minute. This book became so popular to the early church because they said, everything unconnected to God, Peter told us, burns. God shows us, we’re the church on Earth. We should be doing what He left us to do. We’re going to be in Heaven and the currency of Heaven is what we do for Christ on Earth. God is sending the tribulation. No one can escape the second coming of Christ. There’s going to be this final burning before Heaven starts. Do you know what this leads to?
Luke 21:11. It says in Luke 21, Jesus said that there are going to be fearful sights in the tribulation that caused people’s hearts to fail. When they see these seals, these trumpets, these creatures, and everybody dying around them, they’re going to be so afraid, they’re going to expire. Interesting word. Apopsychō is the word in Luke 21:26.
People are going to be scared to death. When they realize how fragile their life is, people are dying so rapidly. They realize death is coming their way and it is stalking them. What are we supposed to do? Share that Christ is the answer.
Let me tell you an event in our lives. I see my wonderful wife sitting out there. When we were first married, we moved out to Los Angeles. I went from seminary, to being on staff with Dr. John MacArthur at Grace Community Church. We were newlyweds Bonnie and I, and we were poor. Bonnie was working downtown for a temporary agency, which gave her parking money. So, we took our parking money, which was $3 a day. Been to LA lately? That was a long time ago. We used our parking money to eat breakfast. We found a place that’s on the corner of 9th Street and Figueroa. At 9th and Figueroa there a little place called The Pantry that’s open 24 hours a day and had a 99 cent breakfast.
So, we would spend 99 cents, 99 cents, and still have a dollar leftover for something. We were sitting there every day as newlyweds; we went there every day for six weeks in a row. We would read the Bible as we ate breakfast, we would discuss it, we would hold hands and pray.
What happened is our waiter, we almost didn’t notice him. He was really nice. We tipped him out of our dollar, but we didn’t really notice him because we were so in love. One day as I was eating and reading the Bible, and holding Bonnie’s hand, the waiter came up. The waiter was a sight. He wore a ski cap in the summer, it was hot. His nose, it was big and red and running. He had a little cough. You know what? He was sick. With COVID-19 we wouldn’t have even eaten there. But this fella, after I looked at him a couple of times, I realized by the capillaries of his nose, he was a cocaine addict. He would snort cocaine. So, we had a coke guy, that was our waiter.
One day while we were reading, he got down like this. Down to our level on the table. He said, Hey. He kept going down until I saw him. His head came down low enough and he says, Hey, I have a question for you. I was still holding Bonnie’s hand and I was eating. I stopped. I looked at him. I said, yes? He said, what are you two on? In that moment, I realized a verse from the Bible.
Listen to what Jesus said in John 7:37-39. “On that last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said…” Verse 38, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Then verse 39 says, which is the Holy Spirit.
Do you know what that waiter saw? Our waiter who snorted cocaine. He snorted cocaine to start his day, so he’d feel good enough to go to work. When he got enough money to get some more, he’d snort more so he wouldn’t feel horrible the rest of the day. It wore off so quickly. He always had to go buy more cocaine. He came to us and for six weeks he watched us with the joy of the Lord and the rivers of living water flowing out of us. What was going on was, I was so much in love with Bonnie, I wasn’t even noticing my waiter. It was a wakeup call that this man wanted to know how he could be high, because he said, as Christians we were high all the time.
Isn’t that what happened on the day of Pentecost? Remember when they accused them of being drunk. Let me ask you, does anybody think you’re drunk because you’re so full of joy? Because they see that you’re on Christ and He’s flowing out of you? This is the perfect time to share the gospel. While we’re in pandemics. While we’re living on this Earth before the tribulation starts.
God is giving people an opportunity to avoid inescapable death like we see in Revelation 6:8.
Jesus gave us already, a tour of the grave in Luke chapter 16. If you know about the rich man and Lazarus, you know that:
- when you get to the grave your consciousness continues.
- People that die don’t cease to exist.
- Death is inevitable but cessation of existence is not.
- Jesus said that people have their memories in the grave.
- They still have their senses.
- They can feel.
- They can see.
- They can feel and experience the strong desires and thirsts.
- The Lord says, we’re supposed to remember that life is fragile.
- That for everybody we see, whether it’s out our window or come close to them in life death is inevitable.
- Jesus Christ is the only answer.
Did you know, that’s why God sends the tribulation right now individually in the church age we’re supposed to reach out to the people that we come in contact with.
- At work and
- at school when everything gets back to normal.
- In our family.
- Our roommates.
- People that we come in contact with in waiting rooms.
- When we’re having something fixed.
- Waiting for someone traveling.
We’re supposed to share Christ. Why? Because God is not willing that any should perish and everybody, we see around us, like us, is fragile. All of us are infected with the S. I. N. virus, which is terminal. So, we have to tell them that Jesus Christ loves them so much, that He came and died on the cross to take away their sin. To place His righteousness on them.
The reason God sends the tribulation is because, Christ is the only answer. If the Lord does not return this year, that statistics will continue…
- every second, two people are dying somewhere in the world
- every hour 7,000.
- 163,000 today.
- 60 million this year, without any extras from COVID-19, just normal life.
The book of Revelation is why God sends the tribulation, so that people will repent.
- Are you doing what He left you to do while you’re here on Earth as the church?
- Are you going through His word and applying it to your life, so that we can obey Him and please Him and put into our cart things that won’t burn up in the fire?
- That Jesus will take and say, this is a sum of your life that you lived for me and I’m giving it to you as a reminder of your whole life.
- It’s your crown. You’re going to get to take that crown and cast it at my feet and worship me because I saved you.
- That’s what Revelation is about.
Let’s bow for word of prayer.
Father in Heaven, thank you for opening our eyes to behold wonderful things. Even in the darkest hour, you are sending the gospel in the tribulation. Oh, may we, as we see the world darkening around us, let your Spirit welling up within us like a river of life-giving water, give us the boldness to not only live for you oh Christ, but to go and share it with others. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray.
All of God’s people said, Amen.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Exploring The Book of Revelation here.
Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?
Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.