The Three Great Woes Page 6
The Great Tribulation Part II
From The Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
The Actual Second Coming of Christ
One morning, a few days to a few months, at most, after Mecca is destroyed, just as the sun is rising over Jerusalem, the sky suddenly goes black. Then a strange but powerful sound is heard over the entire earth. It is like the sound of a shofar, a Jewish ram's horn trumpet. The Trumpet of God! There has never been a trumpet blast like this one. It is heard everywhere. It shakes the earth and sky. It sends the Beasts and their followers to their knees in terror. It brings the surviving saints to their feet in joy. As it dies away, another sound is heard, this time recognizably a shout. Actually, it is a command, the voice of the Archangel. In an instant, the dead in Christ arise imperishable. In a twinkling of an eye, the surviving saints are transformed. They light up like the sun.
As the sounds are heard, something astounding appears in the sky, perhaps a huge, glowing Cross. The Sign of the Son of Man. Wherever you are, you see it. It is bigger than the earth. It is brighter than the sun. Yet it doesn't hurt your eyes to look at it. In fact, you can't look away from it. Somehow, the whole world sees it at once. Out of the cross, something else appears. At first it looks like a bunch of brightly glowing clouds. But as it gets closer you can see that it is an army of angels, coming down through the sky toward Jerusalem. And at its head, mounted on a white horse; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The resurrected and transformed saints take off like eagles, going up to meet Him. The followers of the Beast weep. The saints rejoice. Jesus has come!
For the Christians, the Tribulation is over. But not for the Beasts and their followers. The Third Woe isn't over yet.
Note: The above is not meant to be taken as doctrine; it is speculation. But there is enough Scriptural support for it that we can expect that whatever really happens at the actual Second Coming of Christ. will almost certainly resemble this scenario.
When Jesus first returns, the Bible tells us, He will first set foot on the Mount of Olives, right at the spot from which He ascended (Zechariah 14:4). He will walk or ride across the Valley of Kidron to the Eastern Gate, which, though now walled up (Ezekiel 44:2), will miraculously open for Him. He will enter through it again, as He last did on the first Palm Sunday. Once inside, the joyous event called the Wedding Supper of the Lamb will commence. It will probably last about 2 weeks. Just what will happen in that time, we do not know, but we can be sure that everyone present will enjoy it immensely. It may be like a final, tremendous Passover Feast, perhaps also combined with the pattern of a Jewish wedding.
Meanwhile, Back in Babylon
Outside of Jerusalem all will not be well. The Two Beasts will still be in power, and they will not be taking Jesus' return lightly. Remember, although they are very powerful, they are also slaves to Satan, and are seriously deceived themselves. And Satan, is, in his own way, seriously self-deceived. So the Beasts and their followers will try to do what Muslims have been trying to do since the seventh century: overthrow the Kingdom of God with military force (Revelation 19:19).
The call for an invasion of Israel will actually have gone out during the "nova" event (Revelation 16:13 & 14). The original purpose may be large-scale armed robbery of Israel, which will have, as a nation, turned to Christ by that time. (See Ezekiel 38:11 & 12.) But following Christ's coming, the purpose will change dramatically. Every nation that is capable of putting a soldier in the field will participate in the attack. See Joel 3:9-11. The expression, "Let the weak say, 'I am strong'", is a divinely decreed delusion, not a profession of faith, as has been erroneously taught and sung. (Note: God decrees delusions as part of His wrath. See II Thessalonians 2:11.) Under the influence of the Beasts, the nations loyal to them will actually abandon efforts aimed at survival, and go all - out to participate in the battle. Thus, "beat your plowshares into swords..."(Joel 3:10).
The Assembly Area
When the armies first arrive in Israel, they will not immediately launch their attack on Jerusalem. They will go first to an area north of Jerusalem known today as the Plain of Esdraelon, known in Bible times as the Plain or Valley of Jezreel. It is a large, roughly triangular area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, just south of the Sea of Galilee. At the west end of it is a hill where there was a huge fortress overlooking the valley in ancient times. (The ruins are now a tourist attraction.) The name of the hill has carried over as another name for the valley: Har Megiddo, or as we say it in English,
They won't go there planning to fight there. It will be intended as an assembly point, a place in which to organize themselves, and from which to launch their attack on Jerusalem. Hence the words, "Assemble yourselves, and come, all you mighty nations". (Note: this could actually be divine sarcasm: see above.) Most of them will never see Jerusalem.
Just as their attack begins, Jesus in Jerusalem will show His people that He is the God of the Old Testament as well as the New. "The Lord will also roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem. The heavens and the earth will shake" (Joel 3:16.) He will literally roar like a lion. His roar will cause panic to break out among the Beast's armies.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat?
What happens then is something that few students of Prophecy have seen, although the Bible is clear enough about it. In Joel 3:12, the armies are called together in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There is a mystery here, because in the known geographic history of Israel, there is no such place. Some scholars have speculated that it may refer to the Valley of Kidron, outside Jerusalem, but there is nothing in the context to tell us so. Also, we know from another passage that they go to Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). It appears that, through Joel's words; "Valley of Jehoshaphat", God was telling us something about what will happen there.
You are surely familiar with the story of the Battle of En Gedi in II Chronicles 20. In that story, the righteous King Jehoshaphat called a mass prayer meeting in the face of an apparently overwhelming invasion. The result was that he won a battle without having to fight. As it happened, the invading armies turned on each other and they wiped themselves out. That is what will happen at Armageddon. When the Lord Jesus roars, and the panic breaks out, probably due to brief but fatal misunderstandings, the armies of the Beast will turn on each other. This idea is supported by Ezekiel 38:21 and Zechariah 14:13, both of which say this will happen. Everyone will be killing everyone, with any weapon that comes to hand. The troops will be so close together that for most of them there will be no place to hide, no place to take cover. No where to run to. Men will be going down like dominos. But that won't be all. The Lord is going to take a hand of His own in finishing the Battle. There is going to be another astronomical catastrophe.
"Welcome to the Winepress"
The story is told that at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill in the Korean War - one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. history - somebody in the U.S. military put up a sign at the edge of the battlefield that read "Welcome to the Meat Grinder". Someone could well put up a sign like that at Armageddon, but it will have to read, "Welcome to the Winepress". God will use Armageddon as the winepress for treading out the final great vintage of His wrath.
The kind of catastrophe that will take place is something that has happened before, even in recent recorded history, (Tunguska, Siberia, June 30, 1908) but has never happened above a battlefield, let alone a heavily populated area. This time it will. A small asteroid or comet nucleus will enter the earth's atmosphere at a very low angle, almost horizontal above Armageddon. Because of the combination of its size and angle of entry, compression of the atmosphere ahead of it will bring it to a dead stop in mid air, just as if it had hit the ground. At that point, it will explode. It will be like an air burst of a hydrogen bomb, but minus the radiation. The heat will hit the Beast's armies first, literally cooking them alive and burning their eyes out of their sockets. Then the shock wave will hit, stripping the flesh off their bones while they are standing on their feet. This will fulfill Zechariah14:12.
Revelation 14:20, part of an apparent prophetic preview of Armageddon, says that blood will flow from the "winepress", which we understand to be the Valley, as high as a horse's bridle, to a distance of 1600 furlongs. A furlong is 1/8 of a mile. It just so happens that there is a stream that flows out of the Plain of Esdraelon down to the Jordan River. If you measure the distance from the beginning of that stream down to the Jordan River, and then down the River to the south end of the Dead Sea, it comes to just about 200 miles, the same distance. So this too is meant literally. The aerial explosion of the comet or asteroid will create a flash flood of blood that travels all the way to the end of the Dead Sea. In the time it takes you to clap your hands, the Battle of Armageddon will be over.
There will also be a great earthquake just before the explosion, which may result from the Lord's roar, and which will add to the panic. There will also be, just before the explosion, a lethal rain of large meteors, which will accompany the object that explodes. It is known scientifically that this can happen. (See "Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comet" in the Tribulation Bibliography.) Calling Armageddon a battle is actually something of a misnomer. The Slaughter of Armageddon would be more like it. There will be no resumption of the attack. There will be no one alive to do it.
But that won't be all. Remember, there are ten kings who support the Beasts. They are still in power. Their capitals and/or military bases will have to go. So there will be multiple, more or less simultaneous, small comet or asteroid strikes. (There have also been multiple strikes of large meteors within this century. See "Rain of Iron and Ice", listed in the Tribulation Bibliography).) It is known scientifically that this kind of thing can happen. It will be an event something like that described in the novel "Lucifer's Hammer" (See the Bibliography). But this will be much smaller in scale than the disaster in the novel, and highly localized. Also, the strikes in the novel were random. These will be precisely targeted. The hand of God will put the objects right on the targets He wants destroyed, as precisely as a stealth bomber attacking with smart bombs. In one final cataclysm, the kingdom of the Beasts will cease to exist.
Finally, the Two Beasts will have what amounts to a Rapture of their own, but it won't be one they will like. The Bible says that they will be captured and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20). Somehow, in a special act of God's wrath, while alive in the flesh, they will be thrown into hell. And there they will stay and be tormented forever. Satan will also be captured, but it isn't his time for the Lake of Fire yet. So he will be chained in the Bottomless Pit for a thousand years. We don't know what this means, and its useless to speculate, but we can be sure of one thing: he won't be able to bother anyone for a loooonnnggg time.
All this is not a pretty story, but it is what the Bible appears to clearly say will happen.
Epilogue: The Millennium
When all this is over, the Millennium will begin. There is not too much that can be said about what will happen, but there are a few things that we can look forward to. These paragraphs are here for the purpose of giving hope beyond the Tribulation.
With Satan gone, even for flesh and blood survivors, and Jesus implied in Matthew 24:22 that there will be some, the oppression of satanic influence that we live with now will be gone. That means there will be potential for peace and righteousness that cannot exist now.
The resurrected and raptured saints will be placed in command of the nations of the world, under the direct rule of Christ, fulfilling Daniel 7:22: "Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." They will reign with such absolute authority that no one will be able to disobey them without immediate disastrous consequences.
As stated, there will be survivors. If what is said here is true, there may be survivors in South America, Australia, extreme southern Africa, in extreme northern Europe, and even in the mountains of central Asia, who never took the Mark of the Beast, even though they weren't Christians. They and the survivors of Armageddon will be so beaten up by the Tribulation, though, that they will gladly accept the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the saints just to survive. And survive they will. The Bible says that during the Millennium, a person who dies 100 years old will be considered accursed, which is to say, he will be thought of as having died young. (Note: death does not absolutely end until the Final Judgment.)
There will also be many surviving children, some of whom may have been the offspring of followers of the Beast, but who were too young to get the Mark. But they will be living in a world that looks like Hiroshima after the Bomb. And they will need to eat. So what happens? A new Creation event.
A Creation After The Flood.
It is a little-known possibility, nay, probability, that there was a limited Creation event following the Flood. There had to have been a rather advanced civilization on the earth before the Flood, but the catastrophe was so severe that little trace of it remains. All animal life was exterminated, except what Noah had in the Ark. So it stands to reason that most plant life was exterminated, too. If there had not been a Creation event, Noah and his family might not have been able to survive.
We get a clue to this happening in Genesis 8, beginning with verse 7. Noah sent out a dove from the Ark, and it came right back. Seven days later, he sent it out again, and it came back with a fresh olive leaf in it's mouth. Seven more days later, he sent it out again, and that time it did not come back. In that two week period, God had recreated plant life on earth.
Creation After The Tribulation
The Lord will do the same thing after the Tribulation. The difference will be that the saints will get to see it happen. (They may even somehow take part in it!) Jesus will decree it from His throne in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit will make it happen. Smokey skies will turn blue. The sun will be back to something at least close to what it is now. Streams will just start flowing clear, clean water. Plants will be growing and putting forth leaves and blooming everywhere. All kinds of animals, seemingly wiped out during the "nova", may just suddenly re-appear. There will be a sense of joy and freedom in the air as solid as rock. A new world will have begun.
And so we will ever be with the Lord.
But, of course, if you want to be around to see this, you would best be serious about being ready now. Extensive teaching about this issue is presented in the next section of the Main Message;
Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth.
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Contact Author, William D. Brehm