The Terrible Tribulation

The Terrible Tribulation

March 11th, 1984 @ 10:50 AM

Matthew 24:21-31

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Print Sermon
Downloadable Media
  
Play Audio

Show References:
ON OFF

THE TERRIBLE TRIBULATION

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 24:21-31

3-11-84    10:50 a.m.

 

 

Welcome the great multitudes of you who share this hour on radio and on television.  This is the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  And I am the pastor bringing the message entitled The Great, The Terrible Tribulation.  This is next to the last sermon in the section on eschatology entitled "The Beginning of the End."

Now, I realize more than anyone that a great deal of the study presented this morning is like Greek to many who do not understand the prophetic message of the Bible but so large a part of the Bible is prophecy.  The only religion in the world that has prophecy in it is the Christian faith, the Judeo-Christian religion.  No other religion has prophecy in it.  It would be manifest that they were unknowing.  It would be ridiculous for them to speak of the future.  They are not inspired.  They don’t know what any tomorrow may bring.  Therefore, in no religion of the world will you find prophecy except in the Bible, and the Bible-believing people, the Judeo-Christian faith.

Being so largely consumed with prophecy, it would be unthinkable that a pastor who says he preaches the Bible would not present the prophetic message of the Word of God.  And that is the substance of these sermons in these present days and months.  The sermon next Sunday morning will conclude that section on "The Beginning of the End of the World."  It is entitled The Rise, Reign, and Ruin of the Antichrist; the message this morning; The Terrible Tribulation

Turn in your Bible to Matthew 24, and we shall begin at verse 21, Matthew 24, verse 21.  The first gospel, the twenty-fourth chapter is the Lord’s apocalypse addressed to His disciples; Matthew 24, beginning at verse 21.  "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."  Verse 22, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved."  Verse 29, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light."  

In another place, the Lord said the sun will be black like sackcloth of ashes and the moon will be red like blood.  I think that is a picture of the repercussion in the heavens from the horrible conflicts, the battle of Armageddon in the earth.  The smoke of the conflict will blot out the sun and the flaming fires of the war will make the moon look like red blood.  That’s what He says here.  The sun shall be darkened, the moon not give her light, blotted out by the terrible conflagration.

Verse 30, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."  That is the text of the Revelation, Revelation 1:7.  "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him.  And the families and tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him."  That is exactly what the Lord says here.  "Then shall appear the Son of Man in heaven.  And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.  And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."  Verse 31, "And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other;" the Great Tribulation, The Terrible Tribulation.

We read in Genesis 9, verse 18, "And the sons of Noah that went forth of the ark were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth."  Verse 19, "These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread."  All the inhabitants of the earth are from one of the three sons of Noah.  They are either Semitic – they are Semites from Shem, or they are Hamites from Ham – mostly living in Africa, or they are Japhethites – they are Caucasians who live in the northern part of the globe.

Now the apostle Paul divides all mankind into these three groups.  In 1 Corinthians 10, verse 32, Paul says all humanity is either Jew, or Gentile, or church.  He divides us into Jews, Gentiles, or into the church made up of Jews and Gentiles alike.  Now, we are going to study the terrible Tribulation as these three groups enter into that awesome period that lies before us.  And we shall follow it in the order that the Apostle Paul has stated.  First the Jew, second the Gentile, and then the church; as each one enters into the Great Tribulation.

First the Jew; in Matthew 24:34 the Lord said, "Verily, I say unto you, This genea shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled," speaking of the Jew.  That word, he genea, in 1 Peter 2:9, another form of the word, genos, is translated, "Ye are a chosen generation, a holy nation, a peculiar people."  Genea, genos, it refers to race, to descent, to offspring, to people, to family, to stock, to nations, to kind, to species.  Our Lord says in this apocalyptic discourse in Matthew 24 that that Jew will be here until He comes again.

This is another sign of the truth of the prophecy of the Word of God.  I often say, and you have heard me repeat it, "Did you ever see anybody who ever heard of anybody who ever saw anybody who ever heard of anybody who ever saw anybody who heard of anybody who saw a Hittite, or a Jebusite, or an Amorite, or a Moabite, or any other of those "-ites"?"  You never did.  They have been obliterated from history and from the face of the earth for many thousands of years.  But Jesus said, "The Jew will be here until I come back."

The survival of the Jewish nation is one of the miracles of history.  In Jeremiah 31, beginning at verse 35, "Thus saith the Lord which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night," verse 36, "If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then shall the seed of Israel also cease from being a nation before Me."  God says as long as that sun shines up there in the heavens and as long as that moon shines in the night, just so long will Israel be "a nation before Me."

The miracle of the survival of the Jew is one of the most astonishing providences in human history.  In 722 BC the northern ten tribes were destroyed and carried captive into Assyria.  In 587 BC the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, were carried captive into Babylonia.

In 68 AD the Jews by the number of 20,000 were slain in a single day in Caesarea, and the Syrians in Damascus cut the throats of 10,000 more.  And that same conflict is raging over there this minute.  Between the Testaments, Antiochus Epiphanes killed 40,000 of them and sold that many more into slavery.  In 70 AD in the siege of Titus in Jerusalem, there were 1,000 corpses thrown over the wall.  There were 100,000 of them, when the city fell, sold into slavery.  And there were more than one million of them that perished.  Under the Emperor Hadrian beginning in 117 AD that Caesar destroyed 985 towns in Palestine and killed 580,000 men and sold the remaining of the population into slavery.  In the days of the Crusades beginning in 1096 and following, not only did the Christian Crusaders seek to recapture the holy places from the Muslims, but they brought extermination to the Jews in Europe.

As late as the thirteenth century, the French and the English government wiped out entire Jewish communities.  When Columbus discovered America in 12, practically all the Jews were expelled from Western Europe.  And when Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice, there was not one single Jew allowed in the British Isles.  In our day, in our time, in our time in which we’ve lived, we have witnessed the slaughter and the murder of more than six million Jews in the Holocaust under Nazi Germany.  It will be the pressure and the duress of the persecution of the Jew that will send them back to Palestine, to his homeland.  That is what is happening today.  And they will be re-gathered the second time in Israel.

Isaiah 11, verse 11 says, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord God shall set His hand the second time to recover the remnant of his people which are left."  Verse 12, "And He shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."  The first time the Lord gathered His people back was after the Babylonian captivity.  The second time the Lord will gather His people back is at the end of this age, something that is happening before our eyes right now.

And that prophecy of the re-gathering of Israel in Palestine is repeated again and again and again.  You’ll read it in Jeremiah 16:15.  You’ll read it in Isaiah 60:1-22.  You’ll read it in Ezekiel [20:34-38].  And you read it in Amos 9:14-15 among other many passages in the Bible.

In Matthew 24:32, 33 the Lord says, "Learn a parable of the fig tree.  When she puts forth her leaves you know that summer is nigh.  So likewise ye, when ye see these things, know that it is near, even at the door."  The fig free is a symbol and a sign of the Jewish people.  It is so used in Luke 13:6-9.  It is so used in Joel 1:7.  It is so used in Jeremiah 24:1-11.  The sign of the fig tree, the parable of the fig tree: the return of the Jew from his dispersion among the nations of the world, back to his homeland in Palestine.  And we are looking at that right now.

In 1882 there were 24,000 Jews in Palestine out of a population of 624,000.  In 1890, there were 47,000 Jews.  In 1914, there were 85,000 Jews.  In 1927, there were 150,000 Jews; in 1931, 175,000 Jews; in 1936, 404,000 Jews; in 1941, 505,000 Jews; in 1945, 600,000 Jews.  In 1948, when the nation was born, there were 650,000 Jews.  And today, they are reaching toward three million.  This, Jesus says, is the sign of the budding of the fig tree.  And when you see it, you know that the end is near.  The greatest agony, however much the Jewish people have suffered in these generations past, the greatest agony of Israel is yet to come.

In Daniel 12, verses 4 and 9, Daniel is given a sealed book.  In [chapter] 12, verse 4, God says, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even unto the time of the end."  And verse 9, "And God said, ‘Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’"  The sealed book held in the hand of Daniel.  And the sealed book was opened in the Book of the Revelation.  And the dramatic story is told in the fifth chapter of the Apocalypse when the Lamb that was slain, "No one in heaven, no one in earth was worthy to open the book, to break the seals and to look thereon."

Then all heaven bursts into song, "Worthy is the Lamb," when He takes the book and He opens the seals thereof and the seals are the Great Tribulation, and the power of God as He is manifested as supreme potentate and almighty in the earth.  And that, Jeremiah 30, verse 7 is the time of Jacob’s trouble.  In Matthew 24:21, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world."  And Revelation 12:12, reads, "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth for that Satan is come down," and he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the man child – the Christ – Israel, and he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

This persecution in the time period in the Bible is represented to us as the 70 weeks of Daniel.  In Daniel 9:24-27 is one of the tremendous keys to the prophecies of God to be found in the Word of the Lord.  And Daniel 9:24 reads, "Seventy weeks of years are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city."  This is all the time there is; seventy weeks of years, 0 years until the end, until the time of the dissolution of history and the beginning of eternity.

These 70 weeks of years, these 0 years, are divided into three parts.  One seven weeks, that is years, to rebuild Jerusalem from the permissive commandment of the Artaxerxes, the king of Persia which was issued in Nehemiah the second chapter in the date of 445 BC.  The second 62 further weeks, 434 years, brings us, according to the prophecy, to the time when Messiah is cut off.  That is when Jesus was slain.  And that brings us to 32 AD.  Then there is one week remaining.  There are seven years remaining, and that is set apart by itself in the prophecy.  The first seven weeks and the 62 weeks are together, continuous.  But the last week, the seventieth week is set apart by itself.

Now, there are seven things that are described concerning that seventieth, last, week of Daniel that reaches to the end of the world.  When that comes to pass, when the seventieth week comes to pass, when the last seven years come to pass, it’s the end of the world, end of history.  Now in Daniel 9:24, there are seven things that are said to come to pass in that seventieth week.

Number one, transgression will be ended.

Number two, sin will be no more.

Number three, reconciliation will be made for iniquity.

Number four, everlasting righteousness will be brought in.

Number five, the vision given to Daniel will be brought to reality.

Number six, the prophecies concerning Israel will be fulfilled.

And number seven, the most Holy Messiah King will be anointed in the most holy of holies in the Millennial kingdom.

Now, of those seven things, not one of them has come to pass yet.  They are still future.  All of it is there in the Book of the Revelation, in the seventieth week.  And this last concluding week of history is set apart by itself and it concerns Israel.  And it is written in the revelation of the unsealed book.  And this is the time when the Jew, when Israel, enters into the days that Jeremiah 30 and verse 7 describes as the day of Jacob’s trouble.  Now this is the Jew that enters into the Tribulation.

We turn now to the Gentiles, to the nations of the world, to us.  There are three characteristics of the Tribulation that deeply affect the great Gentile population of the world.  There are three characteristics of the Tribulation that characterize us who are Gentiles.

Number one; all the earth, all of us, will be affected by the judgments of Almighty God.  There is no nation, there is no people, there is no tribe, there is no language, there is no group that will escape.  The Great Tribulation affects the entire habitation of the earth.  It affects all mankind.  It affects all the people.

Number two, the helplessness and the hopelessness of the world, of all men, is indescribably abysmal and oppressive.  The nations of the world become less and less able to cope with the tragic problems that confront them.  It is in that time that worldwide persecution of the Jew will drive them back to Palestine.  And it is in that time that the despair of men, before the problems of the world war, economic injustice and distress, violence and terrorism, drive them.  It is because of their hopelessness to solve their problems that the nations of the world are driven to the acceptance of the one leader who says, "I can bring you peace and prosperity and safety."

And that is the ultimate world dictator, called in the Revelation the "Beast" and elsewhere the "Antichrist."  And when he comes on the world scene, he makes a covenant with the oppressed Jews, Daniel 9:27.  And he promises them, these persecuted people, he promises them peace and rest and hope.  "You follow me and I’ll bring prosperity and safety to your nation."

If you’ve ever been to Israel, there is one cry of the Jewish people day and night, whether you talk to the humblest citizen or the greatest leader in government, "We pray for peace.  Our only hope of survival is in peace."  That is Israel, and this man promises peace and safety for Israel.  And they make a covenant with him and he makes a covenant with them.  He is invincible, this last world dictator, in his world quest for universal power.  That is described in Revelation 6:1, 2, and Revelation 13:1-8.  With the church raptured, with the church gone, he has no hindrance in his conquest and his rise to power.  Every hope is expressed in him, not in God.  The political process, they say, will bring universal peace, progress, and prosperity.

And I see that more and more and more and more in the life of even America.  We are looking to government to solve all of our problems, not to God.  Nobody thinks to call the people together in repentance and in faith and in contrition and ask God to bless us and to help us and to see us through.  But we are looking to the government for more handouts, and more laws, and more of the things that we think will bring solution to the problems of the world.  We are just beginning to see it.

Now, in the middle of that last week, that seventieth week, in the middle of it after three and a half years, 42 months, 1,260 days of time, times, and half of time, of time, times, and dividing of times – all those phrases are used in the Bible to describe that time period.  In the middle of that last and final week, this great world dictator becomes enamored with his own power and his own invincible greatness and he proclaims himself as god.  And he sits in the temple of Jerusalem as god, 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 4.

In the days past when I was younger, I looked upon that as absolutely unthinkable.  How could a man, no matter who he was, a world dictator, ever persuade himself that he was god and ever persuade the world that he was god?  Then I lived to see the rise of Adolph Hitler.  I talked just recently with Reinhold Kerstan; spoke with him last Sunday.  This man is an executive in the Baptist World Alliance.  One of the most brilliant men you could ever visit with.  He was a member of Hitler’s youth, looking forward to the day when he could march in Hitler’s army.  Hitler collapsed; committed suicide when he was about, oh, 13 or 14 years old.  He was looking forward, and he described those days, he was looking forward to marching in the armies of Hitler.  And he thought Hitler was a god.  And not only he, but thousands and thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands of other Nazis thought the same thing.  I never had a revelation personally in my life as when I followed, as you did, the rise of Hitler to power.

That is just a little pygmy compared to the great worldwide dictatorship of this final self-proclaimed god.  There are three things that support that world dictator according to the Bible.  Number one, the world system of religion will support him, Revelation 13:11-15, Revelation 17:1-18.  You’d say, "Well, how could such a thing as that be?"  Just read German history and see how Hitler destroyed the ecclesiastics there who opposed him, and all of the religious systems that would uphold him were furthered and favored.  The world system of religion will support this coming world dictator.

Number two, economic coercion will uphold him.  You can’t buy, you can’t sell without his mark.  I remember in Istanbul, Turkey, visiting with Dr. Black, the President of Roberts College, the great Presbyterian school in Istanbul.  He had married a Bulgarian, and he was in Bulgaria when the communists took it over.  And he said to me, "The most powerful weapon in the world?"  And I thought, what could it be, an atomic bomb?  What could it be, artillery, the marching army?  I was dumbfounded.  He said, "The most powerful weapon of coercion in the world is a ration card."  A ration card; you can’t eat, your family can’t live, and you can’t work without it.  That is exactly what is happening here.  The economic coercion upholds the power of the world dictator.  Without his mark, you can’t buy, you can’t sell, you can’t live.

Number three, Satan supports him.  He is Satan’s final masterpiece.  There are many, have been many, despotic rulers in the world, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler.  But all of them together will not be like the thrust and the march and the power of this final dictator.  Now, the awesome persecution of those who refuse to bow before that Antichrist, as the Bible referred to him, is almost unbelievable.  It’s the terrible Tribulation.  The Jewish remnant that refuses to bow; the saints who have accepted Christ during the Tribulation, refuse to bow; the elect of God refuse to bow and in Revelation 7:14 it is called he thlipsis he megale, "the tribulation the great." 

The third characteristic of the Gentiles, as we enter the Great Tribulation, it is the greatest revival the world will ever know.  Can you believe that?  World revival; what we have seen in these days past under a Billy Graham, or a Billy Sunday, or George Whitefield, or a John Wesley, or a Savonarola, or a John Hus will be nothing compared to the great revival in the days of the Tribulation.  The 144,000 Jewish evangelists presented to us in Revelation 7:1-8, the Spirit of God is upon them and the hand of the Lord is with them.  And they preach the gospel to the whole world.  And in Revelation 7:9-15 is the most marvelous description of the results of that revival that you’ll read in human literature.  I want to read it this morning and I don’t have time.  There was a great multitude, which no man could number, giving themselves to the Lord.  Isn’t that the most amazing thing in this earth?  Revival is always possible; always.

There’s not a church so dead but that could have a great revival, and may have.  There’s not an era so dark that there may come into it the light of the knowledge of the presence of God.  Revival is always possible.  God’s people are ever to be filled with hope and optimism.  Our faces are to be lifted up, our redemption draweth nigh.  We can’t lose.  God is with us.  Now we have spoken of the Jew, we have of the Gentile.

Third, we speak of the church as we enter the Great Tribulation, this age of the church.  One, this age of the church continues until Romans 11:25, quote, "blindness in part is happened to Israel until the pleroma be come in."  In the King James Version that word pleroma is translated, "fullness."  That’s all right if you remember that the fullness refers to the full number.  The church will continue until the pleroma, the full number, of the Gentiles be come in.

God has a book up there in heaven and it is the Book of Life and all who are saved are written in that book.  And that book was written before the foundation of the world.  Before you were born, God knew you.  He saw your substance.  He knows all about us.  And He writes our name in the Book of Life.  And when the last one comes down that aisle, whose name is in the Book of Life, the church will be raptured.  The church age will end.  It will continue until the pleroma of the Gentiles be come in.

Number two about this church age, this age of the church, this age of grace, this age of preaching the gospel is closed by the rapture.  The church is caught up and taken to heaven, taken out of the world, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

And number three, this age of the church is a parenthesis, it is an interlude.  It is a gap between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth week of Daniel.  The prophets never saw it.  God never revealed it to them.  God kept it a secret, called in the Bible a musterion, in His heart.  Now, the prophets spoke of the kingdom, they spoke of the Christ, they spoke of the Jews, they spoke of the Holy Land, they spoke of the temple, they spoke of the tribulation.  But they never, ever spoke of the church.  It was a secret, it was a musterion, that God kept in His heart.  And the Lord revealed that secret to His holy apostles.

In Romans 11:25, 26, in Romans 16:25, in Ephesians 3, verses 4 and 9; in Colossians 1:26 that secret that is called a musterion that God has revealed to His holy apostles.  The church is not a subject of prophecy, but of revelation.  We are living, we, now in this church.  We are living between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks of Daniel.

The church is raptured up to heaven just before the beginning in Revelation.  You see that in type in Revelation 4:1, before the beginning of the tribulation.  And she remains there in heaven during the days of the tribulation here on earth.  She’s before the bema reaping her rewards, the bema, the judgment seat of Christ and is present at the great marriage of the Lamb.  And it is during the final great battle of earth’s armies, that the church returns to earth with her conquering Lord that is seen at the end of the tribulation in Revelation 19, verses 11 and 21.  In chapter 4 of the Revelation, the church is raptured up to heaven and she is there while the terrible tribulation burns down here in this earth.  And at the end of the tribulation in chapter 19 of the Apocalypse, the church comes with her Lord at the battle of Armageddon.

Who gathered these armies on earth together?  Revelation 16, verses 13 and 14, "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon" – Satan – "and out of the mouth of the beast" – the Antichrist, the world dictator – "and out of the mouth of the false prophet" – the religious system that upholds him, "They go forth unto the kings of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."  Where are these armies of the earth gathered?  Revelation 16:16, "And He gathered them together in a place called in the Hebrew tongue harmageddon.  Har is the Hebrew word for mountain; mageddon at the plain of Jezreel, harmageddon.  By the time the Greeks got through pronouncing it, it comes out Armageddon.  They’re gathered there at Armageddon.

Who is involved in that last great battle of the world?  The armies of the whole earth.  One, the European confederation of ten nations described in Revelation 13:1-8 and Revelation 17:7-17; second, the northern confederacy led by Russia, Gog and Magog, described in Ezekiel 38, 39; three, the southern confederacy led by Egypt and Africa, described in Daniel 11; and four, the confederation of the east, one of whose army number two hundred million men; Revelation 9:16, Revelation 16:12.

Who is the leading world figure in this vast conflagration?  The Antichrist, the world dictator, Revelation 17:13: "These kings shall have one mind and shall give their power and strength to him.  For God hath put it in their hearts to fulfill his will and to agree and give their kingdoms unto the beast, unto the Antichrist, unto that world dictator until the words of God shall be fulfilled."  [Revelation 17:13, 17]

What is the battle like?  The description of this final battle is repeated and described again and again and again in the Word of God.  Joel, the second chapter of Joel, for example, describes that last great battle of Armageddon. 

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion.  Sound an alarm in My holy mountain.  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of the Lord is come.

A day of darkness,there hath not been the like, neither shall be any more after it. 

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth," like the north. 

[Joel 2:1-3]

 

Now you look at this, if this isn’t a picture of a jet.  When I was – last time I was on the hill of Megiddo, Armageddon; harmageddon, while I was lecturing, the phantom jets that the United States has given to Israel roared back and forth in some kind of an exercise.  And the sound of that thundering of those jets, just like the final battle.  Now you listen in Joel 2:5:

Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap – if that’s not a picture of what’s happening – like the noise of a flame that devoureth as a strong people set in battle array – Armageddon.

All faces shall gather blackness.

The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, the stars shall withhold their shining.

And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: . . . for the day of the Lord is terrible; and who can abide it?

[Joel 2:5,6,10,11]

 

That’s Joel’s picture of the great battle of Armageddon.  I want you to listen to Isaiah, Isaiah 63.  "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?"  Bozrah is the city of the kings of Edom.  Verse number 2, "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?"  Verse 3, " . . . I will tread down the people in My anger, and trample the people in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all of My raiment.  I will tread down the people in Mine anger, and bring down their strength to the earth.  [Isaiah 63:1-6]

The picture of the Lord God in the final great battle of the earth with His garments stained with the blood of His enemies and that is described in Revelation 14:19,

And the angel, and the angel thrust his sickle into the earth . . . and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of Almighty God.

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

[Revelation 14:19, 20]

 

A thousand and six hundred furlongs, the battle of harmageddo of Armageddon, and the Lord in that great battle coming with His garments stained from Bozrah from Edom, and it says it is a thousand and six hundred furlongs.  And the distance from Armageddon up there in Galilee to Bozrah down in Edom is exactly one thousand six hundred furlongs, two hundred miles. The great battle of the day of the Lord when the garments of God are stained with blood, and the blood is to the bridles of the horses; I just can’t conceive of the end of this world; one army, two hundred million men.

I want to show you something else from the prophets.  This is exactly what I saw in Hiroshima after the dropping of that first atomic bomb.  You listen to Zechariah 12; Zechariah 14, verse 12 and see if this isn’t it.  "And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smile all the people that have fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth."  While they stand there, they dissolve under the awesomeness of the judgments of Almighty God; atomic warfare.

And in that last great battle that closes the tribulation, Christ returns victorious with His church.  Revelation 19:11,

And I saw heaven opened.

And I saw the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against Him.

And they were taken and the beast that dictator, and the false prophet, these were cast alive in the lake of fire. 

And the remnant were slain with the sword and the fowls were filled with their flesh.

[Revelation 19:11, 19-21]

 

Then chapter 20 of the Revelation, our Lord enters the beautiful millennium and with Him is His pearl of price, His church, that He bought with His own blood.  And with Him is the treasure hid in the field, Israel taken out of the graves of the nations of the world.  And the saints that have been saved in that great revival during the days of the tribulation, these all enter into the millennium.  And after a brief, brief, very brief confrontation with Satan, we have our new heaven and our new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.  And we have our new home, New Jerusalem, where our Savior says He’s preparing a mansion for those who love Him.  When I think of these mighty events, O Lord, I am so small.  How could I fare?  And how shall it be facing these awesome prophecies of the end of the age?  Lord, Lord, what of me and what have us?

 

The golden sun, the silvery moon

And all the stars that shine

Were made by His omnipotent hand

And He’s a friend of mine.

When He shall come with trumpet sound

To head the conquering line

The whole wide world will bow at His feet.

And He is a friend of mine.

[author unknown]

 

It is the same lowly Jesus whose heart was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, whose tender hand touched the sick and made them well.  Who is moved by compassion by us who are like sheep without a Shepherd.  It will be that same Lord Jesus who will be coming, the same dear face, the same compassionate hands, the same loving heart.  O God, could such a thing be?  It is too good to be true.  Yet this is the Lord before whom I kneel in prayer.  This is the Lord to whom I gave my heart in faith as a child.  And this is the Lord I worship today who sometime I shall see in His glory.  And that is our gospel message for you.

To give your heart to Jesus; to open house and home to Him as a loving guest; to welcome Him into your life and work; would you make that decision now and come and be with us?  In our pilgrimage in this earth; in our rapture to heaven, I want to be numbered with the people of God, O blessed Jesus.  In the balcony round, on this lower floor, down a stairway, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, this is my family, we are all coming today."  Or just two, you and your wife; you and a friend; or just one somebody you, on the first note of the first stanza, welcome.  Angels attend you while we stand and while we sing.

THE TERRIBLE TRIBULATION

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 24:21-31

3-11-84

 

I.          Introduction (Matthew 24:21-31, Revelation 1:7, 1 Corinthians 10:32)

 

II.         Jew

A.  Survival of Jewish nation (Matthew 24:34, 1 Peter 2:9, Jeremiah 31:35-36)

B.  They will be regathered (Isaiah 11:11-12, Jeremiah 16:15, Isaiah 60:1-22, Ezekiel 20:34-38, Amos 9:14-15, Matthew 24:32-33, Luke 13:6-9, Joel 1:7, Jeremiah 24:1-11)

C.  Prophecy in Daniel (Daniel 12:4, 9, 12:4, 9, Revelation 5, Jeremiah 30:7, Matthew 24:21, Revelation 12:12, Daniel 9:24-27)

 

III.        Gentile

A.  All the earth affected by judgments of God

B.  Abysmal helplessness and hopelessness

1.  World dictator (Daniel 9:27, Revelation 6:1-2, 13:1-8, 2 Thessalonians 2:4)

a. World system of religion (Revelation 13:11-15, 17:1-18)

b. Economic coercion

c. Supported by Satan (Revelation 7:14)

C.  Revival (Revelation 7:1-15)

 

IV.       The church

A.  The church age (Romans 11:25, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

B.  Church a musterion (Romans 11:25-26, 16:25, Ephesians 3:4, 9, Colossians 1:26)

C.  Church during end times (Revelation 4:1, Revelation 19:11, 21)

 

V.        Armageddon

A.  Armies of the earth gathered together (Revelation 16:13-14, 16)

B.  Whole earth involved (Revelation 13:1-8, 17:7-17, Ezekiel 38, 39, Daniel 11, Revelation 9:16, 16:12)

C.  Leading world figure is the Antichrist (Revelation 17:13, 17)

D.  Description of final battle (Joel 2:1-6, 10-11, Isaiah 63:1-6, Revelation 14:19-20, Zechariah 14:12)

E.  Victorious return of Christ (Revelation 19:11, 19-21)

F.  Millennium (Revelation 20)