Tribulation and Judgement

by: Bruce Cook

Back in early June I shared with you an article titled Church, State, God and the rapture. Each one of these titles could have been an article by its self, but I just felt like I needed to do them all at once. I seemed to have this sense of urgency and worry about how many of the unsaved will see the suffering of the tribulation and/or Hell from the judgment.

I told you that I probably wouldn't be sharing articles with you again, but I shared some CD's and written articles with friends and relatives, and each one ask me why aren't you going to share or speak about them anymore? And as I thought about it, I really couldn't come up with a good answer other than I'm just getting to old and it takes a lot of time and study. It was as though the Lord spoke to me and said who told you to stop? I didn't.

I kept on reading Christian books such as Philip Yancey's Reaching for The Invisible God, The Angels Were Silent by Max Lucado, Overcoming Lifes Challenges by Bill Crowder, Flight to Heaven by Capt. Dale Black, Marks Story by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins and of course my bible and study books. Since I only work two or three days a week now, I get to listen sometimes on a daily basis to pastor Van Riper from the Beam of Hope, Charles Stanley, Charles Swindoll, Dr David Jeremiah and Dr Magee. I still watch Fr. Corapi some on Saturday nights and listen to the Gaithers when they are on television, even though a lot of my old favorite singers and groups have gone to be with the Lord.

To write this article on the Tribulation and Judgment I read many sermons from the Internet and listened to sermons on the radio by preachers and writers I have already mentioned. I studied the book of Revelations from the Walvoord and Zuck commentary, my NIV Life Application Study Bible, The Peterson commentary bible "The Message", the amplified New Testament by Billy Graham, and a Bible simply called "The Book" by Tynsdale.

I want to take a few minutes to recap some of what I talked to you about the last time that I spoke with you. I ended with the rapture and how it will trigger the cataclysmic upheaval that will follow it. How during the Rapture all true Christians will be caught up from the earth and raptured into the presence of the Lord before the seven year period of evil, the tribulation that will break throughout the earth. I told you how some people would be taken from the earth while others would be left. There will be no Christians, no restraining ministering of the Holy Spirit, no salt, no light and no indwelling spirit of God. Jesus himself described what will happen next: He said for them there will be a great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be. After the rapture there will be left behind those who call themselves Christians who never prepared themselves spiritually to leave this world and enter eternity.

Chapter 5 of the Song of Solomon describes the plight of the unfaithful church that remains behind after the rapture. The previous chapters described the preparation of the faithful church of the last days, and His union with the bridegroom, Jesus.

People will feel sick at how they are unable to get any fellowship with the Holy Spirit, any peace from the Lord. It is because when they had the opportunity, when they knew the Holy Spirits touch, they did not draw close to Him and stay devoted. There is a very important message for the people of our churches to hear, no one should assume that simply being a member or a mere attendee in a good church insures our spiritual safety. Only faithful obedience to the revelation will do this. This is a warning for all of us, a challenge. It is not here to taunt those who remain. Because they will suffer enough as it is - but serves as a warning to us about that dreadful situation.

We need to have a healthy fear of the Lord. We cannot take the revelation lightly. We cannot sleep spiritually or procrastinate about serving the Lord. Now is the time to get close to the Lord and obey Him. We must not find ourselves asleep with only our hearts awake in sentimentalism toward the Lord. We must not find ourselves without our robes of righteousness or without our feet prepared to go and spread the gospel.

The first verse of the chapter speaks of the greatest joy imaginable - the wedding feast in heaven that takes place at the same moment that those remaining here despair and seek in vain for some feeling of the Lord. We want to be taken in that place with Him, partaking of the feast with Him. We must pray that the Lord will prepare us to meet him as that day draws near.

I feel that after my last talk sharing my writing with you that the Lord said that I had left a work unfinished, I needed to write more about the tribulation and judgment. The tribulation period of seven years will be the darkest pages in the history of the world. All that has gone before is nothing to the horrors that will be enacted under the reign of the blasphemies of the Anti Christ.

After studying and thinking about this material of angels, scrolls, seals, horses, trumpets and bowls. I wondered how I could condense this all down to explain it. I want to mention that I am not a scholar on the book of Revelations. My goal is to tell you what will happen to man if he doesn't repent and accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and faces the tribulation or judgment after the rapture.

The tribulation period I want to write about is the period of time during the blowing of the seventh trumpet judgment when the seven bowls of God's final judgment and wrath is poured out on the earth. Rev: 16: 2-17.

Daniel speaks of the tribulation as a time of trouble. The tribulation is mainly made up of three 7-fold judgments upon the world. The 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets and the 7 Bowls. I heard a famous Christian book writer on the radio the other morning say that he thought that the Rapture would happen in his lifetime.

But before I start with the seven bowls, I want to mention Rev. 6:7. When the Lamb opened the fourth seal and the release of a pale horse. Its rider was named death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by the sword, famine and plagues, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

And now lets talk about the seven bowls of God's wrath:

John said, then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angles; Go and pour out the bowls of wrath of God in the earth. Since no one could enter the temple, (Rev. 15:8) This loud voice from the temple must be God Himself who personally initiates the horrific judgment of the bowls. So the first angel went and poured out his bowl upon the earth and foul and loathsome sores came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image.

Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man, and every living creature in the sea died. The sea - became blood: Rev. 8:8-9 described a partial contamination of the sea. Here the contamination is made complete. (Every living creature in the sea died.) Blood of a dead man will match the appearance and sickening character of the blood in a dead body.

Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became as blood. This complete contamination is in contrast to the partial (or third pollution for fresh waters shown in Rev. 8: 10-11. When these judgments come, the time must be very short until the return of Jesus. With ecological disaster such as this, the human race cannot survive long. Quoting Clark: they thirsted after blood and massacred the saints of God, and now they have blood to drink.

Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch man with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who was over their plagues. And they did not repent and give him glory. What is memorably taken for granted as a blessing, the warmth of the shinning sun - is now a curse. Walvoord tells us that the wishful thinking of some that man would repent if they only knew the power and righteous judgment of God, is shattered by frequent mention in this chapter of the hardness of the human heart, in the face of the most stringent and divine discipline.

Then the fifth angle poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of the pain and sores, and did not repent of their deeds. The darkness of the fifth bowl is a preview of Hell itself, which is described by Jesus as the outer darkness. (Math.25:30) Those under the judgment of the fifth bowl, stand as it were on the shores of the lake of fire. Judgment may produce a carnal repentance - a repentance that is of the flesh, and after the sinful nature of men. In this repentance the depravity of the heart remains the same in essence. Quoting Spurgen - Oh my heaven, do you thus repent? Is sin really sinful to you? Do you see the desert of Hell? If not, your repentance needs to be repented of.

With the sixth bowl: Armies are gathered for a great battle: Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates, and its waters were dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to do battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame - and they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon. The Romans considered the great river Euphrates a secure barrier against invasion from the empires of the east. In that day it was 1800 miles long and anywhere from 300-1200 yards wide. Gather them to the battle; this battle is not nation against nation, but the nations against God. (Psalm 2:2) This is one of three important battles named in prophecy.1. The Battle of Gog and Magog and his allies against Israel. Ezekiel 38-39 2. The Battle of Armageddon when the anti Christ leads the world system against a returning Jesus 3. The final battle, when Satan and his allies, after the millennium, made war against God (Rev. 20: 7-10) The great day of God Almighty: The winner of this battle is apparent. It is the great day of the Lord, not of man, not of the anti Christ or the dragon.

Rev. 16:17 tells us that the seventh bowl is the final judgment and when the seventh angel pours his bowl into the air, a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven from the throne, saying. "It is done" and there were noises and thundering and lightening. And there was a great earthquake. Such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on earth, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found and great hail from heaven fell upon men. Each hailstone was about the weight of a talent or one hundred pounds; men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that hail was exceedingly great.

Rev. 18 says after that I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. There is much to say about this, but I suggest you read chapters 18 & 19. But then, it goes on to say I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called faithful and true - with justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood: And his name is the word of God. The armies of heaven are following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which he strikes down the nations. He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

Then John said I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on his white horse and his army. But the beast was captured and with him the false prophet. The two of them were thrown live into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and birds gorged themselves on their flesh. We're told that an angel came down out of heaven, having the key to the abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him in the abyss, and locked and sealed it, over him, to keep him from the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After this he must be freed for a short time.

Chapter 20 goes on to tell of thrones upon which was seated those who had been given authority to judge. And the souls of those beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his images, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This was the first resurrection.

Isaiah chapter 11 in the Peterson Bible tells us that during the Millennium that the wolf will romp with the lamb, and the leopard will sleep with the kid.The calf and lion will eat from the same trough and a little child will tend to them.

The cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. Dust or dirt will be the serpents food.

The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler will stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. Never again will there be an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years. He who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth. He who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God - alive. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations from the four corners of the earth Gog and Magog to gather them for battle. They are like the sand on the seashore. And they swarmed up over the broad plain and marched around the breath of the earth and surrounded the "camp of God's people, the city he loves, but fire came down from Heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was throne into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and forever.

In Rev.20:11 John says then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And he saw the dead great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the book. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them. And each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. These verses describe the final events of all of human history. God is putting the last period on the last sentence of the last paragraph of the last page. This is the final judgment of all who die lost, never having repented and never having received Christ as their Savior. The Great White Throne is not easily imagined, nor is the lake of fire, which follows it. Artists surely fail to bring its reality to our eyes. God takes absolutely no pleasure about anyone being thrown alive into a lake of fire for all eternity. God never made hell for people - hell was created for the devil and his angels, and people who end up in hell will be those who reject God's way of escape and never get saved. God doesn't send people to hell - sin does - and so we must accept His salvation from sin. We cannot remain neutral. If we say no to any of God's provision, then the only other alternative is hell. God took our hell for us, if we'll repent of those sins for which he died and received his payment. If we don't accept his payment for our sins then we have to pay for them ourselves.

We are looking at the darkest hour of human history - This is the Supreme Court of the universe! All the lost will be judged, and after the verdict read, it is final - there will be no appeals. It is a life sentence and a death sentence. A death row and torture chamber wrapped up in one, with no end for all eternity.

In a sermon by Jerry Shirley he gives us the seven aspects of the Great White Throne Judgment; The Court room, The Judge, The Accused, The Evidence, The Defense, The Verdict, and The Sentence. In verse 11, the three words "great white throne" represents three things.

Great speaks of power. The lost standing before the throne will be overcome w/incredible sense of power, awe, and fear. The person who never got saved will not be able to do anything but weep and tremble. Their minds may remember using his name in vain, or think of jokes they told about hell or the way they used to think about hell, but the reality of what its really like will now sink in. Hebrews tells us that our God is a consuming fire. In verse 11 notice the judgment begins by disposing of the earth. "Earth and heaven have fled away." All will realize that everything they ever lived for on earth is gone forever, everything they put before God is gone, all their possessions, all their pleasures, popularity, prestige, all their family, their children - gone - disposed of - and they are left with God alone, who must now dispose of them; I want you to hear this; in the end all we have left is our soul. Jesus said in Mark 8:36, for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

White speaks of Purity. This speaks of the unapproachable purity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many who stand before God on that day will want to say, I'm a good person, but that will mean nothing compared to His unapproachable purity. Isaiah 1:18 says come now let us reason together with the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.Psalms 51:7 And I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

The word Throne speaks of the Potentate. God himself will be in charge on this day...He will call the shots. They may have dragged his name thru the mud and made fun of his followers, but on that day it is God who sits on the throne. The powerful, pure, potentate. The creator who allowed them every breath they ever took, the savior who died in their place, the Spirit that convicted their hearts time after time, urging them to repent and be saved. He has allowed them a free will to choose for years and years, but on that day God sits on the throne as the Mighty Potentate. 1 Tim. 6:15 Which in his time he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

There shall be no place to run, no place to hide. Adam sinned and tried to hide behind a tree, Jonah sinned and tried to take a boat away from it all. There's no transportation on that day, no fig leaves, just the ugly nakedness of our sin. It's just 1 on 1, the sinner and the savior at the great white throne. Who is this judge of the universe? It's not the father. John 5:22 says, for the father judgeth no man but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained. Whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Some will only come on Easter Sunday, and think that they are going to heaven, but it will be the resurrected Christ who will damn their souls to hell because they rejected His salvation.

Verse 12 asks the question, who are the accused in this courtroom? The answer to this question is: The big shots and the nobodies, up and comers and down and outers, CEO and lowest employee, professors and uneducated, kings and homeless - they all are the accused on that day if they are lost.Verse 13 is about the 2nd resurrection, the resurrection of the lost. It isn't about whether they are guilty or innocent. It is clear that they are guilty. Not a trial to see if they go free or not. It's not about allegations. It's making it clear why they are going to hell for all eternity. Death gives up the body, hell gives up the soul, and then both body and soul are cast into the eternal lake of fire. There is no appeal and no parole.

There will be four groups at the Great White Throne:
1. The sinners who hate God, church and don't believe the bible.
2. The self-righteous who think they'll go to heaven because they live a good life. They think the gospel is for perverts, thieves, murders, and don't see them selves as the real sinners. (Such as the Pharisee and Publican)
3. The slow deciders who know they need to get saved, they want to get saved and they're "gonna" get saved someday, but keep putting it off. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.Hebrews 3:15 says today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.II Cor. 6:2 behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.Slow deciders there is no second chance at the Great White Throne, as in Noah's day after years of warning and preaching. Suddenly the door slammed shut, and the sky began to fall and it was too late.
4. The Sunday churchgoers...those who have their names on the church roll, but not on the Lambs book of life. They'll go to hell with a bible in their hand, and the devil doesn't mind that at all. They may have a fancy suit or nice dresses, a Sunday school attendance pin or an offering statement, but they never accepted Christ for themselves. I suppose the only thing worse than going to hell, is going to hell, thinking you are going to heaven.The evidence in verse 13 are the books. (Notice that the word books is plural) There is a belief by some that on that day 3 books will be opened. The book of works, Bible and the book of life.

The book of works - is a lost persons life "according to their works," We need to realize that God is recording your works, your sins - and on the Day of Judgment, nothing will remain hidden. The books will be open.Psalms 139:1-2 O Lord thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.II Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin.Psalm 139:4 for there is not a word in my tongue, but lo o Lord, thou knowest it all together.II Chron. 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.Heb. 4:13 Neither is their any creature that is not manifest in his sight. But all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. {Gossip, slander, criticism, lies, and jokes, etc.} Every word and deed will be answered for.Luke 12:2-3 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore what is ever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light. And that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

The homosexual crowd says, What we do behind closed doors is nobody else's business - abortionists, feminists, and teenagers say what I do with my body is my business. One of these days it will be God's business. Thank God if you've been saved, your sins are under the blood. But that's not saying we wont have consequences for sin here on earth.

The second book opened will be the Bible, John 12:48 the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. The bible is the standard by which all the lost will one day be judged. The lost will see from the bible how sinful they are, and how perfect a plan God had for them, and they rejected it. They will then know why justice will be served by their going to hell.

The third book is mentioned in Rev. 20:15 - and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This is the final nail in the coffin. If you've been saved, your name is written there, and if not, then its not. If you fail to get saved, your name isn't written there, and on that day it will be way too late.

There is no chance for defense! What can you say? It's there in black and white-there is no denying the evidence. You're guilty-you throw yourself on the mercy of the court and say Jesus, please forgive me, and save me now.But Hebrews 9: 27 says and it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. If you want grace you can have it now, but not after you die.

The verdict is guilty! The lost will hear these words, Math. 25:41 There shall he say also unto them on the left hand depart from me cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

The sentence in verse 15. Some will question about the words literal fire? But every shred of evidence in the bible says yes. Liberal theologians say it's figurative, not literal. But Jesus called hell a place of fire and torment where people die forever and yet not ever completely. I'll take Jesus words over any theologian no matter now many degrees he or she has. I'll stand on this fact no matter how politically incorrect it becomes in the future, that its literal fire as God said it - Luke 16 tells of the man in hell who said, I am tormented in this flame.

Those of you that are saved won’t need to worry at the Great White Throne of Judgment, but what are you doing to keep other people out of hell? People you love and yes people you don't even know too? Have you witnessed to anyone lately? Are you thankful that your sins have been judged? The Lord told his disciples in (Luke 10:20) to rejoice, because your name is written in Heaven.

I have talked to you about the courtroom, the judge, the accused, the evidence, the defense, the verdict and the sentence. Now what will you do? Will you want to examine your own life? Will you want to help loved ones and others to have their names written in the Lambs Book of life? And let me ask you, where will you spend eternity?

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