The Great Tribulation
The feast of The
Day of Atonement is a time for Israel to afflict (trouble grievously) their souls through fasting and prayer. It foreshadows
The Time of Jacob's Trouble spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet. Among other things, this particular time period
is also known as a Time of Trouble and The Time of the Heathen (Leviticus 23:27-31, Daniel 12:1, Ezekiel 30:3).
The Feast of The
Day of Atonement predicts the actual day of atonement when the Lord will reconcile Israel back to himself, as a nation,
through their acceptance of his resurrected son, Jesus Christ, as the true Messiah (Jeremiah 30:7, Matthew 24:21, Zechariah 12:10).
This world has always seen
tribulation in one form or another (through oppressive governments, natural disasters, epidemics, etc.), but in the 24th
chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells of a future tribulation like this world has never seen before… or will ever see again.
We know The Great Tribulation
Jesus spoke of is a still a future event, because, according to the prophecies in The Revelation, approximately 75
to 80% of the world’s population will die during the Great Tribulation—and that
has not happened yet. Jesus said this period would be so horrendous and full of death, that if the days were not shortened,
all mankind would be destroyed (Matthew 24:22).
The scriptures reveal
this terrible time will last for a total of seven years (of which the final 3 ½ years will be the worst). The prophet Joel
warns us to tremble at the very thought of it. We are told in scripture to be horribly afraid of it (Joel 2:1-2).
Will Christians Have To Go Through the Great Tribulation?
Jesus said to pray that we would be counted worthy to
escape all the things that are coming on the earth, and many believe we are now living in the last of the last days—In
the time Jesus called the Beginning of Sorrows.
The beginning of sorrows was prophesied be a very frightening and difficult time, but it is not The Great Tribulation
(1 Thessalonians 5:2-9, Luke 21:36,
Revelation 3:10, Matthew 24:4-8).
The warning to tremble
issued in Joel 2:1-2, is extremely contrary to the usual admonitions we receive in the scriptures to, “Fear not.”
The reason we are told to be horribly afraid of this particular time period is because no one has to go through
It will be a time of unprecedented
wrath and judgment being poured out, from God, on a rebellious and un-repentant world—not a time of testing for
Although Jews and Gentiles
alike will suffer greatly during The Great Tribulation, The Day of Atonement will be a time when God will be dealing
primarily with the Jewish people. Remember, the Church—the Body of Christ—will be caught up when the time
of Christ In You is fulfilled and culminated at the Feast of Trumpets.
During The Day of Atonement,
mankind will no longer simply be able to call on the name of the Lord for salvation but must now endure
to end in order to be saved. Enduring to the end for salvation and calling on the name of the Lord for salvation are
mutually exclusive and not at all compatible, i.e., they are not the same thing.
Just as a dispensational
change took place on the day of Pentecost, which began the time of Christ In You, a dispensational change will
also take place after the Feast of Trumpets.
The Day of Atonement
will begin when the Holy Spirit (he who restrains) is taken out of the way via those who are his temple here on earth (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).
The end that Jesus
is speaking of, in Matthew 24:13, is not the end of one’s
natural, physical life, but the end of The Great Tribulation—the end of The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.
sin, of rejecting Jesus Christ as the Messiah, will be brought to full maturity when they finally accept an imposter as their
long awaited Savior (John 5:43).
Because of Israel’s
national rejection of Jesus Christ, they were, in turn, rejected—nationally—by God. They were afflicted with a
spiritual blindness and scattered throughout the world having no country to call their own (Romans 11:20,25, Deuteronomy 28:64, James 1:1).
Individually, any person,
Jew or Gentile, can be saved during the Dispensation of Grace. At the time of this writing, salvation is available to all
who, in true repentance, call upon the name of the Lord believing in his resurrected son Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10,13).
**NOTE - There are religious groups who call themselves “The Remnant.”
There is no scriptural evidence that anyone other than physical Israel (Jacob) is ever called the remnant. There are those
who falsely teach that physical Israel no longer matters. That all promises made to Israel have now been shifted to the Church.
This is not true. God made a promise to Abraham concerning his physical descendents (the Jewish people) as well as
to his spiritual descendents (those who belong to Jesus Christ), and the one in no way negates the other.
Although Israel was rejected nationally by God, and scattered throughout the world, when
they rejected Jesus as Messiah, they have God’s promise this will not be a permanent situation. The prophets assure
them that, one day, they will be restored back to their land… and after that, they will be restored back to their
Ezekiel Chapter 37
describes both the physical and spiritual resurrection of a dead nation. Verse eleven identifies this nation to be
the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 37:21,11).
History tells us that in
A.D. 70, Jerusalem was sacked, the Jewish people were scattered, and, until the 20th century, foreign governments
continued to hold control over their land. They literally became a “people without a country.”
In 1948 the nation we know,
today, as “Israel” was resurrected. In fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy, the Jewish people were restored back
to their land. Until that time, it had been unheard of for a nation that had been extinct for centuries to live again—and
it had all been predicted in scripture.
The prophecy concerning
the restoration of the Jewish people back to their land has been fulfilled. The feast of the Lord, The Day
of Atonement (along with many other prophecies), foreshadows the time when the Jewish people will be restored back to
their God—through repentance and acceptance of his risen son, Jesus Christ, as the true Messiah (Romans 11:25-27, Hebrews 10:1).
During the time of
Jacob’s Trouble men will no longer be able to simply call on the name of the Lord for salvation but must rather
endure to the end. This will be a fearful time for all men and women (Jew or Gentile) who choose to look for the coming
of the Savior (Matthew 24:4-5,13,21).
When the restraining
force of the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way by catching out the saints (who are his permanent dwelling place here on
earth), the way will be clear for an especially evil person to come on the scene (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).
Israel will accept
this person as their long awaited Messiah and will enter into a disastrous agreement with him. Isaiah calls it an agreement
with hell and death. But Israel won’t be alone in her deception. The entire world will become infatuated with
this man and will follow after him (John 5:43, Isaiah 28:14-15, Daniel
9:27, Revelation 13:3).
The scriptures have
many names for him: Man of sin, Antichrist, and the Beast are but a few (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 1 John 2:18, Revelation 13:9-18).
The antichrist will
remain in power for a total of seven years. During the first 3 ½ years of his reign, the Jews will resume temple worship—Including
the daily animal sacrifices. Halfway through the seven years, the man of sin will turn on them—and on anyone else who
opposes him and refuses to worship him as God (Daniel 9:27, 11:36-37,
2 Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 13:15).
The Beast will initially
demand worship for himself by setting up his image in the Holy Place—the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies will be
located in the Jewish Temple (which will be rebuilt in Jerusalem).
The Holy of Holies was a
place so sacred the Jewish high priest entered it only once each year, and then only after offering sacrifices for himself
and for the people so he would not be killed when he entered into the presence of the Lord.
The image of the man of sin
being set up in the Holy of Holies, will signal the beginning terror and atrocities that will come with such devastating swiftness,
Jesus had only one message for God-fearing people living in Israel at that time.
Get out of the cities
as fast as you can (Matthew 24:15-21, 2 Thessalonians 2:4,
Although he will have an
especial hatred for the Jews, the antichrist will persecute all people who refuse to worship him or his image. He will require
everyone to take a mark of allegiance to him in their right hand or forehead.
Without this identification,
it will be impossible to buy or sell anything legally. All national currency will be abolished, and a worldwide debit system
will be implemented. All business transactions (buying or selling), retail purchases (food and clothing etc.), housing, employment
and medical care will be reserved for those who have professed loyalty to the man of sin by receiving his mark. Everyone else
will be considered enemies, and there will be but one sentence for them… death (Revelation 13:15-18, Revelation 20:4).
The persecution will
be global, and so severe that if Christ doesn’t intervene, mankind will completely annihilate himself (Matthew 24:21-22, Revelation 13:7, Daniel 7:21,25).
power will be given to him directly by Satan and will be taken from him, at the return of Jesus Christ. At that time, he and
his false prophet will be thrown alive into the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians
2:8, Revelation 13:2, 19:20, Isaiah 11:14, Daniel 7:11,22, 8:24).
**NOTE – The various
aspects of this momentous time period make it impossible to adequately discuss in just one chapter. So for the next few chapters,
we will be looking at critical events that will take place during the time period predicted by the Feast of the Lord—The
Day of Atonement—better known as The Great Tribulation.