A masterwork on biblical prophecyA masterwork of core teaching on biblical prophecy from Dr. David Jeremiah

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Living in the Age of Signs

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Know how to survive a dirty bomb? How to start a fire using a glass bottle? How to preserve food? Have you stockpiled cans of beans and tins of meat? Do you own a solar–powered flashlight? How about your contact list—do you have a hard copy in case our electronics crash? What about a first aid kit and toolbox? Have you studied wild mushrooms and edible insects? Know how to waterproof your matches?

Lots of people are thinking about these things nowadays. The Atlantic carried an article about a growing number of survivalists and "preppers" who are using Internet sites to swap how–to tips on building bomb shelters, storing food, stockpiling supplies, cleaning weapons, and providing emergency medical care in the absence of doctors.1

Some people take it further. The newspaper, The Daily Mail, reported on a Colorado family who has spent vast amounts of money and time preparing for a coming day when "suddenly, and completely without warning" the world will experience "a total blackout—no electricity, no mobile phones, no banks, no internet, no TV, no emergency services. Nothing." This family has stashed away so much that it took fifteen people over six hours to move it all from the basement to the lawn for a photograph. There were drums of food and gallons of water. They had a solar oven, a generator, a propane burner, a water filtration device, hand warmers, surgical masks, weapons, grills, backpacks, solar panels, and, of course, lots of blankets.

According to the news source, it's all in preparation for a day when the economy will buckle, the world will lose power and energy, communications will go dark, and society will collapse in chaos with mass riots and warfare. The article reported, "It's estimated there are three million preppers in the United States alone, and the number is rapidly rising."2

Understandable Anxiety

I can understand the alarm. Both Christians and non–Christians are preoccupied with the end of the world. In pop culture, this is reflected in doomsday movies and television series. In politics, it's seen in the growing disillusionment and despair of the electorate. In economic terms, it's reflected in a multibillion–dollar apocalypse–survival industry. Our world is shuddering with conflicts in the Middle East, plagues and infectious diseases, cyber warfare, and the proliferation of destructive chemical and biological and nuclear weapons. The global economy is hanging by a thread, and the foundations of morality are collapsing like a suspension bridge. We are living in the last days against the buildup of the Rapture of the Church and the backdrop of the Great Tribulation. Everyone should take reasonable precautions and be as prepared as possible for the coming days.

But there's a balance. It's easy to look at today's world and feel troubled. Many Christians are plagued with worry, fear, and doubt. There's a natural sense of fatalism and defeat as we look at the turbulent times around us. But remember, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). The Bible says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).

Our Lord doesn't want us to live in anguish or anxiety. Instead, this is a moment to remember Who is in charge! Perhaps for you, today is the day to trust God.

Our Source of Confidence

This is the central message of Psalm 11, which begins with King David affirming his confidence in God: "In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, 'Flee as a bird to your mountain?' "

Someone in David's life was telling him to flee. Someone—perhaps his wife, son, friend, or counselor—was alarmed. According to this advisor, the foundations were falling, so what could the righteous do? The future was pointless. Survival was nearly hopeless. The best advice was to flee.

Psalm 11 was David's response. Paraphrased in modern terms, this is what King David said in Psalm 11:1–4:

I have put my trust in the Lord, so how can you advise me to flee like a bird to my mountain? How can you tell me the wicked will kill me with their bows and arrows? How can you suggest the foundations are destroyed and there is nothing the righteous can do? Don't you know who is in charge? The Lord is still in His holy temple. The Lord is on His heavenly throne. His eyes miss nothing.

When you get a chance, read Psalm 11 for yourself, and decide for yourself if this paraphrase is a balanced interpretation of what David was saying. Psalm 11 is the message we need to embrace in these days. The foundations may seem to be crumbling, the wicked may be stringing their bows, and the times may be drawing to a close, but if our faith is in the Lord, there is no need to panic. Today is the day to trust Him who is in His holy temple. He is still on His heavenly throne, and the Lord yet reigns.

Our Blessing and Protection

Look at verse 4 again: "The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven" (emphasis added). The first part of the verse speaks of God as a Priest in His temple; the second part speaks of God as a King on His throne. As a Priest, He sanctifies and blesses us. As a King, He protects us and causes all things to conform to His rule and reign. Our God is the everlasting God, and He will reign forever. Let the foundations collapse and the earth wobble in its orbit. Watch as the ungodly boast. Nothing changes the fact that our King and Priest rules, reigns, and intercedes according to an overriding plan.

Yes, the Lord is in His holy temple and on His heavenly throne. He surrounds us with His grace. In His timing, He'll take us to be with Himself. In the fullness of time, He will return just as the Bible predicts in Revelation 19: "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. … And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (verses 11–16).

Until then we trust Him. Otherwise we'll live in defeat, worried every morning, fretting every night, and haunted by each headline. How much better to remember Who is in control of politics, plagues, and the princes of the earth! How much better to say, "In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, 'Flee as a bird to your mountain?' "

It's good to be prepared, and we should take every sensible precaution in these evil days. But our true deliverance is in the King of kings and Lord of lords. God is in control, and nothing will happen without His permission.

How can we boost our trust in Him?

If you're worried about the times we're in, study God's throne in the Bible. Read about Isaiah's glimpse of the throne in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel's depiction of the throne in Ezekiel 1, and the apostle John's description of it in Revelation 1, 4, 5, and 19. Spend time in the Throne Room of Psalms 96–99, where the recurring theme is "The Lord reigns."

Then read Psalm 11 again. That's my prescription.

Be prepared, but don't be panicked. Rely on God in the midst of turbulent times, and look upward. All previous generations of Christians have expected Christ to come in their own day. Even during the lifetime of Paul, New Testament believers lived in expectation of His swift return. So do we! Our lives are full of anticipation, though we don't know whether His return will be today, tomorrow, next year, or next century. One thing we do know—His coming is closer than it's ever been; and when we look at world conditions, we feel we have better reasons than prior generations to say: "Perhaps today!"

PERHAPS TODAY is the day to remember Him who is in His temple and on His throne. PERHAPS TODAY is the day to trust Him.

1Colette Shade, "Survivalists Are Using Pinterest to Prepare for the Apocalypse," The Atlantic, May 15, 2014.

2Ryan Herman, "Ready for the apocalypse!" MailOnline, March 23, 2013.

Daily Devotions

Today’s Devotion:
The Whitest White

How do paint companies find their colors? According to livescience.com, engineers are looking at the little-known Cyphochilus beetle found in the sugarcane fields of Southeast Asia. The bug has remarkably white scales and studying the natural shade of the creature has helped paint companies begin to create the whitest white color.

Imagine a white so white and bright that it’s blinding.

In the Gospels, Jesus was transfigured, and for a few moments He revealed His intrinsic glory. Matthew 17:2 says, “He was transfigured before them. His face shown like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” Revelation 19:11 pictures Christ coming again on a white horse; and the eternal throne of judgment is described in Revelation 20:11 as “a great white throne.”

According to Revelation 21 and 22, the city of New Jerusalem will be illuminated by the Lamb Himself, who radiates light. The city will shimmer, gleam, and flash with supernatural light.

Since all this is true, let’s grow in holiness and reflect the glory of the Lord to a darkened world. Others should see in us the whitest white.

Break down every idol, cast out every foe. / Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

James Nicholson

There are many movies and television shows that deal with apocalyptic circumstances, and many of us have heard reference to the four horsemen. But where does the idea come from? Are they real people? What do they do? For decades, Hollywood has borrowed the idea of doomsday riders for its own purposes, but the four horsemen have real meaning attributed to them in the Bible.

In Revelation 6, Jesus opens seven seals of judgment to begin the Tribulation period on earth. The first four seals He opens are the four horsemen, and each is released from heaven to usher in various judgments on the earth. While some apocalyptic judgments are specific events, these are overarching judgments that will last for periods of time throughout the Tribulation. Here is a look at the meaning of each symbol:

The White Horse

"And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer" (Revelation 6:2).

The rider on the white horse is the Antichrist. He will arrive on the world scene at the beginning of the Tribulation and will work to unite the nations, signing a peace treaty with Israel. He will be a charismatic leader who presents himself as the savior of the world. His power and authority will come from Satan, and (like Satan) he will be a great deceiver. The symbol of him riding a white horse aptly illustrates this quality because Jesus will return to earth on a white horse (Revelation 19:11–14). Satan's purpose has always been to counterfeit the work of Christ. By the second half of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will break his peace treaty and wage open war against believers.

The Red Horse

"Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword" (Revelation 6:4).

The next horseman, on the red horse, represents war and bloodshed. Nation will rise against nation during the Tribulation and individuals against each other. It will be a time of murder, assassination, bloodshed, revolution, and war.

The Black Horse

"So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine' " (Revelation 6:5–6).

Black is often connected with famine in the Bible, and food shortage will be a byproduct of the ongoing war. A denarius was the standard daily wage for ancient laborers. In the early days of the Tribulation period, food will be in such short supply that people will have to work all day just to have enough food to eat. Yet the luxuries of the wealthy ("oil and wine") will remain untouched.

This famine will prepare the way for the Antichrist's rule. Later in the Tribulation, He will require the people to take his mark in order to buy or sell. Hunger will play into his hands and strengthen his control.

The Pale Horse

"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 over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth" (Revelation 6:8).

The pale rider is death with Hades (hell) following behind. This deadly duo will kill with the sword, hunger, disease, and wild beasts—the four judgments the Lord said he would send in Ezekiel 14:21. Death and Hades are mentioned together three times in Revelation, and the first time in Revelation 1:18 tells us that Christ holds the keys to Death and Hades. Though the twosome will wreak havoc during the Tribulation, Jesus holds the ultimate power and will throw them both into the lake of fire after the Battle of Armageddon.

As terrible as these judgments will be, the four horsemen are just the beginning of the Tribulation. The book of Revelation outlines many more judgments and events that will happen on earth during the End Times.

Allow me to set the stage.

The Church has just been raptured into heaven. Turmoil reigns on earth. People wander through vacant rooms, looking for loved ones. The churches that once would have offered solace stand empty. With no one left to stand up for virtue, ethical standards are replaced by vague value systems, and everyone is out for himself.

After the mass disappearance of millions, those who remain will be fearful, wondering what will happen next in this time of uncertainty. Some may cry, "God, where are You?"

The One Who Is Worthy

God is on His throne in heaven. In His right hand, He has a record of the sequence of events for the next seven years. The Father is holding a scroll with writing on both sides, containing seven seals that will reveal the sobering judgments to come upon the world before Jesus returns to earth.

Only One is worthy to take the scroll and reveal its contents, and He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the Lamb. John, his aged eyes filled with tears, watches while Jesus takes the scroll from His Father and breaks the first seal. The four living creatures and the twenty–four elders are so overcome that they fall down to worship. Then heaven echoes with a new song:

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.
Revelation 5:9–10, NIV

As the scroll unrolls, one seal is removed to disclose the first in a series of judgments. When successive seals are removed, the scroll unrolls again, each time revealing a worse horror. Altogether, there are three series of judgments: seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls.

I believe the contents of this scroll are the same contents that were sealed up by God in Daniel 12:8–9, sealed "till the time of the end." And the only One in heaven worthy to unseal the book and read its contents becomes the focus of worship in Revelation 5. What was sealed up in Daniel's day was unsealed in John's, and the One unsealing the book is Jesus Christ Himself.

When the first seal is removed, John sees one of the infamous four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The Counterfeit Christ on a White Horse

"I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest" (Revelation 6:2, NIV).

Astride his prancing stallion, the Dark Prince enters the world scene with a flashing smile and an air of confidence. He chooses a white horse, the symbol of a conqueror, for his grand entrance.

At the beginning of the Tribulation, the Dark Prince enters as a victorious leader. There are two riders on white horses in Revelation: the first is this man, with a bow in his hand and a victor's crown on his head; the second is another man, with a sword for His weapon and a kingly crown upon His head. These two horsemen are diametrically different.

Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote this about them:

The counterfeit is revealed by a detailed comparison of the two riders. The One whose name is the Word of God has on His head "many crowns." The symbol is of all royalty and majesty. The Greek word is diadem. The horseman of the first seal wears no diadem. The false crown is the stephanos. Its diamonds are paste. It is the shop girl adorned with jewelry from the ten–cent counter imitating the lady born and bred who wears the rich jewels of her inheritance. All is not gold that glitters. No amount of gaudy trappings can deceive the spiritual eye. Clothes do not make the man in spite of the proverb.1

The first rider (the Antichrist) has a useless weapon, like an evil Don Quixote, but the second rider (Jesus) carries a sharp sword with which He can strike down the nations.

The great counterfeiter is none other than the Antichrist, who rides into the world at the beginning of the Tribulation period to bring peace in the midst of global turmoil. The great imitator, the cleverest mimic of all time, he will conquer without war.

The world is looking for a man on a white horse. Nations are churning. Revolutions are toppling governments. In this nuclear age, men live with the threat of international catastrophe. The final dictator, promising peace and prosperity, will be welcomed as the savior and hope of the world; he will command the military and mesmerize the masses. Governments will be united under his leadership and the people of the earth will sigh with relief, believing their future will be brighter.

The Red Horse of War and Bloodshed

"Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword" (Revelation 6:4, NIV). When Jesus removes the second seal, the angel will summon the second horse. This blood–red beast is ridden by one who carries a machaira, the assassin's sword, which can cut the throat of an animal or a man. The red horseman represents not only nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, but man fighting against individual man. He ushers in a time of murder, assassination, bloodshed, and revolution.

Are wars increasing in frequency and intensity? Twice in one generation, the world was plunged into world wars. Since World War II, there have been more than three hundred wars, hundreds of political assassinations, rebellions for independence, and revolutions of either a political, economic, racial, or religious nature. As fast as we write these statistics, they are out of date.

When the second seal is opened, the message is the same as that of Jesus, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. . . . For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive" (Matthew 24:6, 21–22, NIV).

How will those days be cut short? Who will survive this great holocaust? As our timetable of things to come unfolds, we'll find the answers to these gnawing questions—questions that go unspoken in the minds of concerned men and women, for fear of creating personal depression or appearing to be negative thinkers.

The Black Horse of Famine

Have you ever been hungry? I mean, really hungry, not just the need to satisfy your appetite, but the aching, clawing sensation that dominates every waking minute? I am an average American, taking the food in my cupboard for granted, seeing the waitress's cart of leftovers, tossing out half–eaten apples. In America we have forgotten the old "waste not, want not" homily. We throw enough food in our garbage cans every day to feed a family of six in India for a day. Our dogs have a diet higher in protein than most of the people of the world.

When war comes, food is often in short supply. The black horse of famine rides behind the red horse of war during the Tribulation, bringing worldwide starvation to the citizens of planet earth.

As the third seal is broken, the scroll is unrolled to reveal the next event. John tells us, "I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, 'Two pounds of wheat for a day's wages, and six pounds of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!'" (Revelation 6:5–6, NIV)

This measure of wheat is the least amount of food one person could eat to survive. The wage–earner will take his day's salary to the central government market and be measured out his ration. But what about the children and the elderly who cannot work? How will the worker be able to sustain his family?

Starving people scavenge for food, and, with the spirit of the Lord removed, they will kill to eat. The rich and influential will have their "oil and wine," or the gourmet food from the deli. They will display their special pass—the mark "666" issued by the Antichrist—and be able to stock their shelves with choice products from the state–owned supermarket, but the poor will starve.

The Pale Horse of Death and Hades

"When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him" (Revelation 6:7–8, NIV).

John now sees two persons: Death is riding a pale horse, and Hades is following close behind him. What power they have! They will kill a fourth of the earth by sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts. Armed with these weapons, the survival rate for the remaining population will be less and less.

God's "four sore judgments" are described as "the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence" (Ezekiel 14:21, KJV). History shows that there has been a close association between these four.

As a country is engulfed in war, the able–bodied men take up arms. Farmers leave their fields, and food supplies become scarce. Soon there is malnutrition, followed by disease. Ultimately, the wild beasts prey upon the weakened people. Historians tell us that more people died of the epidemics of influenza and typhoid after World War I than died in the war itself.

The pale horse of Death and Hades is not a welcome guest during this beginning of the seven years of Tribulation. Along with this plague will be the "beasts." I don't think this means that lions and tigers will be loosed throughout the earth, but it could be a symbolic meaning for beast–like men. The word beast occurs more than thirty times in the book of Revelation, and in other places it refers to the Antichrist.

I have another theory about these beasts, since they accompany famine and plague. The most destructive creature on the earth is the rat. He is a menace to human health and food supplies, and the nasty creature comes in more than one hundred species. Rats are extremely prolific, producing five or more litters of eight to ten each year. It has been estimated that rats are responsible for the loss of more than $1 billion worth of food each year in the United States alone. Their fleas carry bubonic plague, which destroyed one–third of the population of Europe in the fourteenth century.2

The Four Horsemen Are Just the Beginning

Jesus said, "All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8, KJV). This is just the preface to the Tribulation period. Before seven years have passed, the wrath of the Lord will be unleashed without restraint upon this earth.

1Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation: An Expository Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1967), 122.

2Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 23, 264

The sign of the four riders will usher in the Tribulation period. Here are twelve answers to twelve questions about this phase of the End Times.

A Time of Unrestrained Evil

During the Tribulation, evil will flourish. God's wrath toward the wicked will be revealed. Signs of His coming judgment will loom. It will be a terrible time. But in His goodness, God has not left us unaware. The Bible describes various signs, disasters, and circumstances of this future event and how we can prepare for it.

What Signs Will Warn of the Approaching Tribulation Period?

We can expect ten events to occur in the days preceding the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation. They will continue to multiply and progress as the first 3½ years of the Tribulation unfold.

A Time of Deception

Matthew 24:5
Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

A Time of Dissension

Matthew 24:6–7
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars … Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

A Time of Devastation

Matthew 24:7
There will be famines …

A Time of Disease

Matthew 24:7
… pestilences …

A Time of Disasters

Matthew 24:7
… and earthquakes in various places.

A Time of Death

Matthew 24:9
They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.

You will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. –Matthew 24:9

A Time of Disloyalty

Matthew 24:10
Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

A Time of Delusion

Matthew 24:11
Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

It is likely that the delusion will be facilitated by an increase in drug use. One of the characteristics of the End Times' false religion will be what Revelation calls "sorceries" (9:21). The word John uses is pharmakos, from which we get the word pharmacy. It is an ancient reference to the ingestion of drugs.

The use of mind–altering substances such as narcotics and hallucinogens will be associated with false religions, doubtless with the approval of the government.

A Time of Defection

Matthew 24:12
Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

People will turn away from God and from each other.

A Time of Declaration

Matthew 24:14
This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations.

What Will Happen on Earth During the Tribulation?

Things will be far worse than today (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Completion of the Rapture will usher in the seven–year period described in Revelation 6—18. For the first 3½ years, conditions will worsen; God's anger will burn against the wicked; and signs of Christ's coming will appear. During the last 3½ years, the "lawless one"—the Antichrist—will be empowered to sit at the center of the Tribulation's evil as he personifies Satan.

What Will Happen in Heaven During the Tribulation?

Christians will be in heaven. God will be seated on the throne, surrounded by a rainbow of emerald greens. Twenty–four elders representing the church–age saints will sit around the throne. Before the throne will be a sea of glass. Around the throne, there will be four living creatures, singing praise to the One on the throne. All heaven will worship the glorified Christ, the Creator of the world. God's judgment of the physical earth will soon follow, but before He does, the Church will worship earth's Creator in heaven. Thunder, lightning, and voices proceeding from the throne will signify the impending judgment (Revelation 4:5).

Will Christians Escape the Tribulation?

Yes, Christians will escape the seven–year nightmare of the Tribulation (Revelation 3:10).

The Bible clearly teaches that the Church will be raptured, or transported to heaven, before the Tribulation begins. This will be accomplished through the personal, bodily return of the Lord to remove His waiting Church from earth and to reward them according to their works. This will take place before the judgments of God are poured out upon the unbelieving world.

The church will be raptured before the great tribulation begins.

The following Scriptures support the imminent return of Christ for His Church prior to the Tribulation, rather than during or after it: 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 2 Thessalonians 2:8–12; Matthew 24:29–31; Revelation 21.

Excerpt from The Book of Signs:

Without any sign, without any warning, Jesus Christ will return to rapture His saints and take them to heaven. Paul understood the implications of this sign–less event. It means that we must be ready for the Lord's return at any time and at all times. Thus, he urged Titus to be always "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). (Chapter 12, "The Rapture," page 158)

What Natural Disasters Will Occur During the Tribulation?

The sun will turn black, the moon will turn red, and great earthquakes will be common.

Revelation 6:12 says, "Behold, there was a great earthquake." It continues, "The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood." When Jesus died on the cross, the whole earth darkened at midday. When Egypt was judged, there was a blackness of night. When the Lord descended at Mt. Sinai, the mountain was shrouded in black clouds. Likewise, darkness will fall at the onset of the Tribulation period.

The stars will fall out of the sky.

Revelation 6:13
The stars of heaven fell to the earth.

The word "star" here is the Greek word aster and it refers to luminous bodies in the sky other than the sun and moon. Clearly these "stars" are not the distant stellar objects we know as stars. More likely, this refers to a cluster of asteroids that will pummel the earth.1

The mountains and islands will move.

Revelation 6:14
Every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

When the asteroids strike the earth, it is possible that the earth's crust will be so disturbed by the impact that great segments of it will actually begin to slip and slide over the earth's mantle. According to Dr. Henry Morris, those living in the regions above such shifting will observe the heavens appearing to move in the opposite direction, as if they are being "rolled up."2

The ocean will become blood.

As Revelation 8:8–9 explains, a great mountain burning with fire will be cast into the sea. The sea will become blood, and one–third of all sea life will die. In addition, one–third of all ships will be destroyed. The far–reaching implications of these judgments are beyond our understanding. Someone has reasoned that the oceans occupy about three–fourths of the earth's surface, so the extent of this judgment will be staggering. The pollution of the water and the death of so many sea creatures will vastly affect the balance of ocean life. This will happen to one–third of the saltwater bodies of the world.

The water will become poisoned.

Next, freshwater supplies will be affected. They will become bitter and cause many people to die (Revelation 8:10–11). The instrument of judgment will be a great star known as "Wormwood." This literal star or meteor hurtling through space will sideswipe earth, turning one–third of the earth's water into a deadly poisonous liquid. Rivers, springs, and wells will all be affected.

Excerpt from The Book of Signs:

By revealing the disasters yet to come, God gives us warnings that we can heed, enabling us to avoid these approaching horrors. By turning to Him, we can be assured that His hand will remove us from the earth before these disasters arrive. (Chapter 18, "Four Riders," page 235)

Our individual ability to weather the storm will come from our understanding of the Word of God.

When Will the Rapture and Tribulation Occur?

Jesus could come tonight! You may hear people argue that the Rapture cannot occur until the whole world has heard the Gospel; therefore, we need to preach the Gospel to every creature until the "last person to be saved" is brought into the kingdom, at which time Jesus will return for His Church. This cannot be true. If there is anything yet to happen before Christ's return, then there is no such thing as the "imminent return" of Jesus Christ. The command to take the Gospel into the whole world is pressing upon every generation. However, the condition of the Gospel going to the whole world is not a condition of the Rapture, but of the Second Coming of Christ.

How Will People Be Saved During the Tribulation?

Since there will be no believers on earth at the beginning of the Tribulation, this is a good question. However, Scripture indicates there will be two witnesses and 144,000 sealed Israelites who will proclaim the truth during the Tribulation (Revelation 11, 14). In addition, Dr. Henry Morris suggests a "silent witness" because "millions upon millions of copies of the Bible and Bible portions … will not [be] remove[d] and multitudes will no doubt be constrained to read the Bible in those days … [and] will turn to their Creator and Savior." These blood–bought believers will begin to warn others of even more severe judgment to come. They will preach repentance and judgment and they will be killed for their message.

There will be a great harvest of souls for Christ during the Tribulation.

If Someone Becomes A Christian During the Tribulation, What Will Happen to Them When They Die?

The Lord has pronounced a special blessing for them: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on" (Revelation 14:13). Just as the New Testament begins with the Beatitudes of Jesus for the living, it ends with a beatitude for the dying. Revelation 14:13 is the second of seven Beatitudes found in the book of Revelation. Even though these words are particularly written for those who die during the Tribulation, they are also words of encouragement for the saints of every generation. Death is not the end for a believer; it is simply a punctuation mark while we await the coming of the Lord. Blessed are those who have gone to sleep in Jesus.

If I Can Be Saved During the Tribulation, Why Should I Change My Life Now?

Just as death terminates the day of grace for those who reject Christ, so the Rapture will end the day of grace for those who have rejected Him. Those who have resisted the Gospel message will be given a "strong delusion" during the Tribulation. Second Thessalonians 2:10–11 tells us, "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (KJV). According to Revelation 13, the Beast and the Antichrist will imitate the life of Christ and bring deception. Believing these deceptions, the day of grace will end for anyone who rejected the Gospel prior to the Tribulation.

The Bible urges today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Don't expect to outwit God's plan. One day soon, the Lord will return. If you have rejected Him, your day of opportunity will be lost. Accept God's free gift of eternal life while there is still time. If you would like to know more about becoming a Christian, please request a free copy of Your Greatest Turning Point.

Is It True That It Will be Impossible to Commit Suicide During the Tribulation?

The Tribulation will be so terrible that men will seek to die, and many will attempt suicide. Yet apparently, death will not be possible during a five–month period described in the fifth trumpet judgment: "In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them" (Revelation 9:6).

It will be an awful experience for those who are left to endure countless demons from the pit of hell running unchecked throughout the earth. The only people these demons will be allowed to sting are those who do not belong to God (verse 4). The poison from the sting will literally set the nerve center on fire (verse 10). This evil will be stretched out for 150 days (verse 10), and death cannot provide escape (verse 6).

What Can I Do About the Coming Tribulation?

On any given day, our newsfeeds are filled with disaster—crime, greed, wars, famines, disease, earthquakes, devastating storms, and more. It is hard to imagine how things could possibly get worse. But, in His Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned the disciples that things could, and would, get a whole lot worse. Today, God restrains evil and extends grace to mankind. However, evil will continue to crescendo, building toward a day when God's people will be raptured away, ending the age of grace.

Immediately after the Rapture, God's Spirit will remove any restraining influence on earth (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Life on earth will yield to unbound evil.

Today, God restrains evil and extends grace to mankind.

The best preparation for the Tribulation is to make sure you are not around for it. If you haven't already, confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and trust Him to be your Savior. Once that is settled, you have a commission to carry out! Jesus appointed us to carry His message to the very ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19–20). There will be an opportunity for some to receive grace during the Tribulation, but until then, it is our responsibility to share Truth with as many people as will listen. In the words of a great, old spiritual:

When you see the lightnin' flashin'
When you hear the thunder crashin'
When you see the stars a–fallin'
When you hear the chariot's callin'
Good news, chariot's a–comin'
Good news, chariot's a–comin'
So glad, chariot's a–comin'
And I don't wan–na be left out!

We do not know when the chariot will arrive, but we are to be ready when it comes. In His goodness, God has revealed the judgment that awaits those who reject Him, and He has provided a plan of salvation for those who receive Him. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)


1Henry Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983), 123.


3"Great Commission Action Guide," https://reachbeyond.org/Advocate/RBActionGuide.pdf, accessed on January 1, 2019.

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