The Tribulation will be a time of devastation and woe like no other in human history. That is not a possibility, it is a promise from Jesus. He said in Mt 24:21-22 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened."
How bad? Half the people alive when the Tribulation begins will be dead before the Tribulation is half over. Rev. 6:8 says given to the horseman to kill a fourth part of the earth by sword, famine, pestilence and beasts. When the 1st judgments (seal judgments) are over, a quarter of the world will be dead. After the Seal Judgments are the Trumpet Judgments. Rev. (9:15). A third of the world is killed through those. There is no number given as for how many are killed in the Bowl Judgments that occur in the second half, but Jesus did say that if He had kept it going longer all flesh would be dead by the end.
There was recently much ballyhoo made over the 7 billionth baby. Our global population is at this moment, 7 billion. Half the population dead in the first half of the Trib means 3.5 billion people dead in 3.5 years. That is a billion people a year. That is 83 million people a month. That's 27 million people a week. That's like saying the entire population of Tokyo, dead this week. Seoul SK, next week. Mexico City, the week after, and on and on and on with the death. More will die in the second half.
So why do I dwell on this if I want to encourage? Well, I do want to encourage, but I want to focus for a moment on God and His holiness. He is perfect, holy, sinless, and glory itself. He hates sin, and He punishes for sin. His wrath is great! "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Rev 6:16). This apostate church in America focuses on love, and unity and tolerance, wealth-health, they fail at church discipline because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings. Well, allowing false teachings into the church because you don't want to hurt feelings is saying you allow offense to Jesus because you don't want to hurt satan's feelings! We have Joel Osteen speaking in the name of God saying we can get our best life now, AND a good parking place at the mall, too, if we follow his 7 steps for finding our full potential....
Preacher and missionary Paul Washer said he'd like to create a book cover with himself on it, standing like Osteen, with the title "Your Worst Life Now: why you have no potential for anything and you're completely depraved". I laughed, as did the video audience, but he has a point. We forget the power of God with all this talk of being radical and purpose driven. Gradually, we have made God in OUR image.
We have Jentezen Franklin urging us to fast and that our fast is the key that will unlock heaven and shut the gates of hell. It is statements like that, against a HOLY AND JUST GOD, who alone has the key to heaven and hell, indicating a grievous spiritual-heart condition that make Him so wrathful! This isn't a partnership, and Jesus is not our psychologist. He is not our bank account. He is not our grocery store. He is not to be mocked, spoken of in vain, nor ignored.
So at the Tribulation, He will be impossible to ignore.
I am not reveling in all this death. But I revel in a holy God. I understand my position before Him and I know it is only His power and grace that lifted me out and not my own effort, merit, thoughts, 7 steps, or fasts. It is Him and Him alone in charge. The Tribulation is a time when He will remind everyone of that. As a culture, we have forgotten how terrible sin is, our sin. I understand the justice required for our Holy God to punish the wicked. My gratitude extends to Him every day in relief and wonder that He saved me. Not because I have a low opinion of me, but because I have a high opinion of Him. Because I have an understanding of my depraved sinful condition, and I am amazed that He even would want to have anything to do with me in that condition! "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:1
But He did, He picked me out of the mud of my own depravity and He washed me, lovingly. And He did that for the American Christians who now set Him aside on their way to buy Jentezen Franklin's newest book about "recovering your passion, recapturing your dream, restoring your joy." What about God's passion? Jesus's joy?
The Book of Revelation opens with letters to 7 churches authored by Jesus. At the time John recorded them, there actually were 7 churches named The Church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7); The Church at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11); The Church at Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17); The Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29); The Church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6); The Church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13); The Church at Laodicea. Laodicea is the only church in which Jesus had nothing good to say.
It is thought that in addition to the 7 churches being real churches in John's time, the churches also represent the church age, and that Laodicea represents the last phase of the church on earth and the coming of Jesus, in other words, us. Lamentably, He stands outside the door and knocks, an uninvited and unwanted guest to the very church He died for. (Rev 3:20). He may be reading the sign we pinned there, "Gone to the Mall".
The prophecy of the Laodicean Church is found in Revelation 3:14-22. The Laocidean Church is known as "The Dead Church".
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Laodicea is charged with being so spiritually blind they bask in their wealth (Rev 3:17), needing Jesus for nothing and unaware of their condition. In that verse Jesus quotes the church as saying, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing." Does that sound like today's prosperity gospel-laden churches, or what?!
"Your Best Life Now"
"It's Your Time"
"How to be Happier 7 Days a Week"
"Become A Better You"
Where is Jesus? Outside the church, knocking to get in. (Rev 3:20)
This church was also spiritually arrogant in its self-satisfaction. Jesus charges them with being naked, a symbol of worthlessness and shame, having no garment of righteousness on them to cover themselves! They are charged with being lukewarm, apostate, naked, worthless, unrighteous, rich, so rich they exclude the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit! This spiritual condition is an abomination to a holy God.
Serious, serious stuff. Before you embark on the latest fad infiltrating your church, before you buy a book telling you Jesus will make you rich, before you accept a jet setting preacher's words in the latest book saying if you 'give big, you get big', before you cut back on missions giving in favor of a new children's playground or a church van, THINK! This church is us. It is an unsaved church, proud and about to receive a blistering rebuke from a Holy God.
Our holy God will vomit this church out of His mouth. Read Rev 3! We're almost there. *I* feel like vomiting our church out of my mouth! Imagine how Jesus feels! For these sins and for all the sins of the world done in His name and out of His name, the world will be judged. If you mourn the Tribulation deaths, good. If you are unwilling to let your mind think on it for a moment, good. But think on this: our position before a holy God is low, He raised us up with His blood. Honor that blood, honor that cross, fight for your church! Fight for your faith!
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