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Three Phases of the Tribulation

"Look among the nations, and see, wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Habakkuk 1:5

Scripture tells us that there will be a 7 year peace treaty agreed upon between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This treaty will be negotiated by a man who will be recognized for his genius in bring divergent parties together in peace. He will no doubt be People Magazine’s “Man of the Year” and receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements. The treaty is only for 7 years as the two parties were unable to agree on the issue of Jerusalem. The Palestinians insist that the city serve as their capital and the Jews refuse to capitulate to this demand. Therefore, the negotiation of this final issue is hoped to be resolved in the intervening 7 years of peace and prosperity. But, in the meantime, the Palestinians are allotted land and receive statehood while the Jews keep Jerusalem and are allowed to build a Temple for the third time in their history.

The Antichrist

It is commonly believed that there will be a 7 year tribulation period. However, scripture only tells us of a Great Tribulation period that lasts for 3.5 years and ends with the Second Coming of Christ. Scripture tells us that 3.5 years into the 7 year peace treaty, the man who negotiated the treaty is now seen as the world’s most powerful person. And as such, he decides to go into the third temple in Jerusalem and declare himself the savior of the world worthy of worship. He also installs in the Holy of Holies, an image of either himself or some object that represents his essence. This act is referred to the “Abomination of Desolation” and causes worldwide civil unrest (Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15) . This in turn is the start of the Great Tribulation. It is Jesus Himself that gives us details concerning the abomination and, in doing so, mentions the existence of a Temple existing at this time (Matthew 24:15).

The Great Rapture of the Church

We are not told about the state of the world during the previous 3.5 years. But we are told by the apostle Paul that there will be a rapture of the Church. Most Bible scholars believe that the rapture will take place at some time before or immediately following the signing of the peace treaty. This is known as the Pre-Tribulation Theory. The understanding is, if the 2.2 billion children of the earth plus the 2.5 billion believers of the world are all suddenly raptured off the earth, this event would be so catastrophic to the order of civilization that it would understandably trigger the start of the tribulation period. It is believed that during the following 3.5 years, the world’s most powerful man rises to the title of World Leader and, as a benevolent dictator, initiates a brilliant plan to restore world order. This plan is referred to as the New World Order system. This idea originated in Babylon after the flood under the leadership of Nimrod the first world leader become tyrant. There is a second rapture theory that believes the Church is raptured at the moment that the world leader declares himself the savior of the world. This is known as the Mid-Tribulation Theory. There is also a Post-Tribulation Theory in which the Church is raptured in the final days of the tribulation period only to be immediately returned back to the earth to rule with Christ. Few scholars believe in the Mid-Tribulation Theory and even fewer believe in the Post-Tabulation Theory. This is why Phase I is predicated on a pre-tribulation rapture.

Phase I will occur 3.5 years before the Great Tribulation period with the resurrection and rapture of all dead believers. This will be instantaneously followed by the translation and rapturing out of all living believers (I Thessalonians 4:16). Jesus wants all His followers physically off the earth as the final 3.5 years of the 7 year tribulation period will be a terrible combination of the wrath of Satan, the wrath of the antichrist and the 7 Seal Judgments of God. These 3 forces will produce the most horrific period of time on earth since the world was created (Matthew 24: 21). Jesus does not want even the bodies of His dead believers to be on the earth during this time. Instead, all believers will be in heaven enjoying the Marriage of the Lamb or Christ to His saints followed by the Marriage Supper or reception of the Lamb.

Satan's Fall From Heaven and Down to the Earth

Phase II will start 3.5 years into the 7 year tribulation period. Again, this time is known as the Great Tribulation period. It begins with a series of 7 worldwide judgments by God designed to force the people of earth to make a choice. Do they want to accept salvation through a belief in Christ, or do they want to reject God’s offer in favor of an earth ruled by man? At this same moment in time, Satan with his fallen angels storm heaven for three reasons. First, Satan wants to see if he has gained more angelic supporters for his cause to rule heaven. Second, he wants to interrupt the Marriage Ceremony of the Church to Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And last, Satan wants to see if God is willing to voluntarily give up His current heaven in favor of creating a new heaven. God would be leaving the old heaven as a place where the fallen angels could worship Satan. Scripture tells us that the answer to all of Satan’s questions is a resounding No! The archangel Michael and his Angels fight against Satan and his fallen Angels. Satan and his forces are defeated, permanently thrown out of heaven and find themselves confined to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9, 12). Satan is now enraged and now pours out his wrath on the people of the earth. He does this in part through a demon spirit indwelling the world leader. It is then that this leader becomes the Antichrist or Beast. This is when the world leader declares himself a god and demands to be worshipped (II Thessalonians 2: 3-4).

This does not mean that all the people of the world will agree to follow the world leader or Antichrist. Some countries will voluntarily support him such as the European Union. The ten horned beast referenced in the Book of Revelation are the 10 permanent members of the European Union (Revelation 13:10). Some nations will negotiate peace treaties with him in order to prevent a war. Some will be attacked, defeated by him and forced into submission. And some will reject his treaty offers but will have to contend with supporters in their countries conducting subversive activities on his behalf.

The confusion over just what parts of the earth the antichrist will rule comes from the Book of Revelation. It states that God will allow him to make war with believers and in some instances defeat them. It goes on to state that power was given to him by God to tempt all people of the earth both militarily and with propaganda. Thus, all who live on the earth will have the opportunity to worship him either by force or voluntarily. So for example, the United States will not be militarily conquered by him if only through the use of its nuclear deterrents. However, a portion of the population will believe in his philosophy of a one-world-order to bring worldwide peace. Thus, many in America will support him and create a social movement by way of protests, political elections and lobbying groups. So, he will have some power in the U.S. but not controlling power. The bottom line is, his international support will grow, but he only has 42 months in which to conquer the entire world and, good luck with that. The Christian movement has spent many trillions of dollars over a 2,000 year period trying to protolyze the earth and it has not succeeded. So, how can one man realistically accomplish this goal in 3.5 years? The Book of Revelation goes on to say that those people who worship him will have their names blotted out from God’s Book of Life (Revelation 13: 8). His means that there are names that stay in this Book and there are names that are removed from the Book. This in turn means that some people will worship the beast and are condemned while some will not.

Scripture states that the Antichrist will primarily rule in Europe or the old Roman Empire and the Middle East. One or possibly two years into the Great Tribulation, Russia and the Warsaw Pack known biblically as Magog will unite behind a leader known as Gog and enter into a military conflict with the European forces of the world leader. The world leader will leave his international headquarters located on the Mount of Olives in Israel and eventually defeat Russia. He now has the combined military power of the European Union, Russia, the Warsaw Pact and many countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Because the United States is not directly mentioned as part of his coalition, it is believed it will not come under his control. However, this may mean that it has, for some unknown reason, been reduced in power to the point where it can defend itself but not go on the offensive. Therefore, it cannot assist internationally as part of the resistance movement. This lack of participation may be due to a previous conflict that left the country sovereign but tremendously weakened both economically and or militarily. Or, it may be that the U.S. has adopted an isolationist position and refuses to become involved in what it sees as yet another European and Middle East crisis. And while the Antichrist will have supporters in every country of the world, he will not rule most of these countries. While his plan continues to be the consistent expansion of his control around the world as quickly as possible, he is vexed by the constant resistance he meets from many of the nations he invades. Mercifully, God has confined him to a 42 month time frame to achieve his goal of world dominance. And Jesus states that if this time was not shortened, the entire word would eventually be destroyed (Matthew 24:22).

Mark of Beast As a Microchip

Phase II also involves every territory that comes under the rule of the Antichrist to have its citizens required to take an identification mark showing that they have pledged allegiance to the Antichrist and his political goals. People throughout the world including many Christians and Jews, will voluntarily take the “mark of the beast” so as to be allowed to participate in his economic union as well as a sign of moral support for the idea of a one-word-order. This consist of combining all governmental, economic, military, health and religious systems under the rule of a world council lead by a benevolent dictator the Antichrist. The people under his rule will be given two choices. They can take an oath of allegiance to him and in doing so, receive a mark that will allow them all the rights and privileges that come with participation in the new-world-order system. Or, they can refuse to take the oath and be completely cut off from the system. This means they will have no jobs or income, the ability to buy or even barter for food, no utilities, transportation or medical assistance. Most will suffer slow agonizing deaths serving as an example of what happens to those who defy the system (Revelation 13:16-17). Many resisters will be arrested, imprisoned and eventually executed. Because these events will follow the exact timelines given in the Book of Revelation, it is God’s hope that many will turn to the Bible and come to the inescapable conclusion that there is a God, that the Bible is the word of God and that the only way to receive eternal life is through faith in Christ.

The tribulation process will cause a number of end results. First, it will once and for all make clear the total inability of any manmade system of government to successfully rule the earth in place of God. Second, it will cause a small surviving remnant of the Jewish race to repent of their sins and earnestly pray for God to save them from certain total annihilation by the combined armies of the world known as the War of Armageddon. Third, it will end the earthly rule of Satan and his demonic army. And ultimately, it will bring in the Kingdom of God on earth with Christ as ruler.

Jesus and Second Coming With His Saints and Army of Angels

Phase III is the return of Christ to the earth to establish His 1,000 year reign. This event officially ends the tribulation period. The saints that accompany Christ will serve as part of His governance administration of the earth. These positions or rewards were bestowed upon them at the Bema Seat Judgement of Christ. The people who come to Christ during the tribulation period and survive until His return, will be allowed to live lives of great longevity similar to those of the early patriarchs in Genesis. This is done in order to allow them to repopulate the earth. At the end of the millennial reign of Christ, Satan will be released from his prison for a brief amount of time. He is allowed to test the people of the earth for virtue one last time. He causes one final rebellion of mankind against God. This rebellion is quickly destroyed by the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit as the New Jerusalem descends from heaven. This enormous structure 1,500 miles by 1,500 miles is designed by Christ to house the Throne of God and will contain many mansions especially designed for each believer to allow them to “…dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (John 14:2; Psalm 23:6; Revelation 21:1-2; Ephesians 3:21). This building will serve as mankind’s earthly home but that does not mean mankind is necessarily confined to only the earth.

Time Ends & Eternity Begins
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind. — C. S. LewisSo, what exactly happens after the 1,000 Reign of Christ on earth? We are given less and less information about this subject as we get closer and closer to the end of scripture. But we can

To recap, Phase I begins with the rapture, with the sudden disappearance of approximately 4.7 billion people. This event will trigger the start of the 7 year tribulation period and the rise of a one-world-leader or the Antichrist. The rapture will occur sometime before or possibly immediately following  a 7 year Middle East peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority.

Phase II will begin with the start of a 7 year tribulation period. The first 3.5 years will be the reorganization of the nations to return to some semblance of order since the simultaneous and inexplicable disappearance of billions of people around the world. The quickest solution to this catastrophic event will be determined to be the creation of a one-world-order system. The final 3.5 years of the tribulation period is referred to as the Great Tribulation. This is the time period in which Satan is thrown down to the earth and God releases a series of 7 judgements on the earth each at the command or Christ (Revelation 16:1-7, Revelation 8:15). These events will coincide with the world leader miraculously surviving a deadly head wound from an assassination attempt (Revelation 13:3). Unknown to the world, he has been indwelled by a satanic demon spirit. Once he recovers, he enters the third temple in Jerusalem, declares himself the long-awaited messiah or god on earth and demands to be worshipped. This is referred to as “the abomination of desolation” and is the official start of the Great Tribulation period (Matthew 24:15; Revelation 13:15; Daniel 8:9-14, Daniel 9:27).

It is called Great Tribulation because now the people of the earth are experiencing simultaneously, 3 major forces with 3 completely different goals. The 7 judgments of God are designed to bring people to salvation. The wrath of the Antichrist is designed to have the people of the earth take his mark and worship him as god. And the wrath of Satan is to completely eliminate the Jewish race from the face of the earth. This is because he knows the Jews are still God’s chosen people. So, he believes if he can quickly destroy the Jewish race, there would be no reason for the Second Coming of Christ since the trigger for His coming is to save a remnant of Jews from total annihilation. With the rapture of the Church, the Holy Spirit has been somewhat  diminished. Not in His actual power but in the number of people that He once indwelled on the earth but are now in heaven. With the Jewish race now eliminated, the only people left on the earth are mostly unrepentant and willing to serve Satan through his son the Antichrist. Thus, Satan will have averted his prophesied eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire. And, the earth will at long last be his kingdom and the people of the earth will worship him as their god. This is what he has wanted since the time of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13-19; Isaiah 14:12-16).

We are now at the very end of the 3.5 year tribulation. It is in the final days that Satan finds himself racing against the clock. Through his son the world leader, Satan orders the armies of the world to launch a full assault on Israel. The Antichrist will declare that the Jews are the root problem in achieving world peace. The 7 year peace treaty has now ended and the Jews still refuse to allow Jerusalem to serve as the capitol of the Palestinian state. This is the main pretext for the war on Israel which again is called the War of Armageddon (Daniel 2:44; Psalm 2:2).

Phase III is the return of Christ which ends the tribulation period. The trigger for the return of Christ is the repentance of the Jewish race. This event will begin when the persecuted Jews of the world and defeated army of Israel hold a national day of prayer in which they repent of their sins and plead with God to immediately reveal their long-awaited Messiah (Hosea 5:15, Hosea 3:5; Psalm 50:15; Genesis 42:21; Leviticus 26:40; Isaiah 26:1). This united action on the part of the Jews is what God has been waiting to see happen for the past 2,000 years! Jesus will then stand from His throne and command the angelic armies of heaven lead by the Archangel Michael along with His Church saints to descend to the earth.

Jesus Appears Coming Down From Heaven and All Mankind Will See Him

On that day, Christ will appear in the sky over the earth in a way that all people will simultaneously witness His Second Coming (Matthew 24:30). This sighting may be seen as a supernatural event or it may be that it is covered by conventional media. Christ’s appearance will be the first of many supernatural events on that day. Believers will run outside overjoyed with arms opened wide to welcome Him. Unbelievers will cry out in anguish and try to hide behind rocks, in caves and underground bunker systems (Revelation 6:16). Then, with only a Word, Jesus instantly and anticlimactically destroys all the unrighteous among the armies of the world surrounding the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 19:19-15; II Thessalonians 1:7-9). The power of this same Word continues to reverberates throughout the entire world destroying all the unrighteous (Matthew 24:40-42; Revelation 19:15-18; II Thessalonians 1:7-9).

This may at first seem cruel and unnecessary, but God has been trying to bring people to a belief in Him since the time of Adam and Eve. And, for the past 7 years, He has been singularly focused on the salvation of mankind with an ever-increasing number of supernatural events. For example, the unfolding of the tribulation period cited in the Book of Revelation is listed for anyone to read in the exact same order as it has occurred on earth. God sent two angels to circle the entire earth and audibly announce the Gospel to the people of the earth. He sent a third angel to warn against worshipping the Beast or world leader and taking his mark (Revelation 14:6). He sent two witness, Moses and Elijah back from the dead to Israel and for 3.5 years they preached repentance and the imminent return of the Messiah (Revelation 11:1-11). For 3.5 years, God sent 144,0000 Messianic Jews throughout the world to preach the Gospel of Christ and His imminent arrival (Revelation 7:4). Thus, God has gone to unbelievable lengths to bring His rebellious children back to Him. Those that do not believe at this time are those who have made a conscious and deliberate decision that they will never, under any circumstances, follow God. And God will never take away a person’s right of free choice even if their choice is based on accepting lies as truth.

Pilate Trying Jesus

You may find this hard to believe, but today there are many people throughout the world determined to believe unproven ideas, rumors and theories as truths. You can only have faith in a truth that is based on facts. Scripture can be trusted because it is based on the Word of God. Jesus as the Son of God said to Pilate at his trial, “…I have come into the world, to testify to the truth of God”. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice “ or words. This is the original truth to power statement! Pilate then replied to Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). Pilate asks this question when he has just been told that truth is the Word of God. But in Pilate’s world, truth is whatever leads to power.

Jesus is now only minutes away from taking possession of the earth and establishing His 1,000-year Kingdom of God reign. His first appearance in the world was on a quiet June night in a lowly stable as the gentle Lamb of God. His second appearance will be proclaimed worldwide in broad daylight as the roaring Lion of Judah. Rebellion against the will of God, from this moment on, will no longer be tolerated. Scripture states that Jesus, “will rule with a rod of iron” (Revelation 2:27). This does not mean Jesus will be a tyrant. In fact, He will still be the kind, gentle and understanding Messiah of the Gospels. What it does mean is that there will be absolutely no toleration for antisocial behavior. At His coming, the wicked are struck down as with a rod of iron. At the same time, the rule of behavior between God’s people will also be strictly enforced. But this is not bad. The rule of behavior is that all people are to love and respect each other. So to strictly enforce this “rule with a rod of iron” is a good thing.

During the millennial Reign of Christ, there will be no more war, hunger, disease, violent storms, pandemics, pollution or crime. There will also be no more lying, cheating, stealing, physical assaults or social disorders of any kind. All people will show respect, tolerance and love for one another. There will be no more tolerance for anti-social behavior which is the same as anti-God behavior. All people will live on earth in peace and love for God and their fellow man (Revelation 2:27). If a person does not want to live this way, God has another place where they can go and be among their own kind. It’s their choice but they will have to freely make that choice.

Satan and His Angels Confined Down In the Pit

As Jesus descends through the atmosphere of the earth, the armies surrounding Jerusalem turn their weapons on Him and His followers. But much to their surprise, their weapons have been neutralized. At this same time, all unrighteous military personnel begin to fall dead from instant cardiac arrest. Jesus commands that the Antichrist and the false prophet who led the one-world-religion to be immediately imprisoned in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20). He then has Satan bound and confined  in a bottomless pit or center of the earth for 1,000 years. He has the fallen angels and demonic spirits once under Satan’s control confined down into Sheol to await a final judgement. All the unrepentant spirits of mankind from Cain to the last rebel against God will also have their spirits imprisoned in Sheol.  (Revelation 20:1-2; Jude 6).

Christ Rules the Earth From His Throne in the Third Temple

Jesus now descends to the exact spot He ascended from on the Mount of Olives, 2,000 years earlier, walks directly through Jerusalem’s Golden Gate also known as the Beautiful Gate, Mercy Gate or Lion’s Gate and into the rebuilt third Temple to begin His reign over the world as King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords (Ezekiel 44:1-2, Ezekiel 43:1-5; Psalm 90:4). And that day will continue for 1,000 years thus it can be said, “a day with the Lord or Christ is as a thousand years” (II Peter 3:8).

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