The First Half of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:4-15; Rev. Ch. 6-11) Continued
The first half of the Tribulation is described in Matthew 24:4-14. False Christs will come and deceive many. Israel will hear of wars and rumors of wars but will not experience them. Nations and kingdoms will be at war, and the world will experience famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. Millions who know the Bible, but who had never given their lives to Jesus, will recognize the prophecy and be saved (Rev. 7:9-14). Believers, converted during this time, will be taken to synagogues for prosecution for Christ’s name sake. The Church, itself, will not be here during the Tribulation. We will discuss the Rapture of the Church later. God will send two witnesses so that the Gospel will be preached to all nations; the Holy Spirit will speak through them, and the whole world will be without excuse (Rev. 11:3-13). Israel, still living in spiritual blindness (Rom. 11:25), will hear the Gospel, and just in time. Their blindness is about to end and they are about to become the ones being hunted.
The Second Half of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-28; Rev. Ch. 12-18)
The Antichrist and his armies surround the city of Jerusalem (Lk. 21:20), and as he enters triumphantly, the first place he goes is to the Temple. He causes the sacrifices to cease, and the Jews recognize him as The Man of Sin when he enters the Holy of Holies and declares himself to be God (the abomination of desolation of Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; Lk. 21:20, and II Thes. 2:4). Notice what Jesus tells us next. When this is seen and understood, let them that are in Judea flee.” These are Jews whose eyes will have been opened by seeing the works of the Antichrist. The Spirit of God opens their understanding of the prophecies concerning Messiah dying, the Temple being destroyed, and a seven year peace treaty that is broken “in its midst” (Dan. 9:24-27). Thus begins three and a half years of running, hiding, and dying for those who now recognize that Jesus was their Messiah.
The persecution of the Jews is pictured, beginning in Revelation Chapter 12 by the pregnant woman (Israel - Isa. 54:1-10), who delivers a Son who will rule all nations with a rod of iron (Jesus Christ - Ps. 2:8-9; Rev. 19:15). Her Child is caught up into heaven unto God's throne. The woman flees into the wilderness and is sustained for one thousand two hundred and threescore days. Israel now has faith in Christ, and they can only overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and by being willing to die for Him (Rev. 12:11). We also see they have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17). Praise God!
For three and a half years, God pours out His wrath on mankind (wrath is also found in Rev. 6:16; 12:12; and 14:8 from Jesus, Satan, and Babylon). While the purpose of these events seems vengeful and inconsistent with our view of God, they are intended to produce repentance (Rev. 16:9-10).