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Five Essential Bible Truths Part 1
Second Coming of Jesus

God is Largely Misunderstood today

The character of God is poorly understood – even in America. Most men and women diminish His authority, glory and power, because He has not recently revealed Himself in the affairs of man. The prophet Isaiah is a good example, however, of a human response when witnessing God’s great power. Falling on his face, Isaiah was amazed at God’s reluctance to show Himself as the Almighty. “Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel.” (Isaiah 45:15)


God’s apparent silence comes as a consequence of sin. Just as offenses physically separate friends or family members, the offensiveness of sin separates us from God’s physical presence. As generations’ come and go, knowledge of God dims. The reality of God becomes faint, and the longer we go without renewed evidence of God’s authority and glory, the more silent He appears to be. In the vacuum of this silence, sin becomes more attractive and less offensive. Sinners become bold and defiant in transgression. Sin metastasizes. Violence, sorrow and suffering spring up like dandelions after a spring rain. Every night, the evening news confirms our accelerating slide into depravity. Degenerate, even hideous sins are either justified or glamorized on TV. Sin has a strange effect on human beings – it causes sinners to minimize the effects of the guilt of their wrong actions. Sin causes human beings to deny the significance of personal wrongdoing! (How many people in prison falsely maintain innocence?)


The Bible reveals that God breaks His silence from time to time. He uses four judgments to limit the growth of sin. (Ezekiel 14:21) These four judgments are sword, famine, plague and wild beasts. In His infinite wisdom, God allows nations to rule until they fill up their cup of iniquity, and when they do, the Bible says that He removes them from power. (See Daniel 2:21; 4:16, Leviticus 18:24-27.) What makes this process so remarkable is that God, even within the chaos of sin, completely accomplishes His plans and purposes on this Earth! We may try to explain the outcome of Earthy events by analyzing the actions of the players, but this is only a limited view. Do not be nave and think that things happen by the prowess of man. Nothing happens in the universe without God’s knowledge and permission. Even though we are unable to see God on His throne, we can know that He reigns over the kingdoms of man. God is sovereign. We may not see all that He is doing, but the evidence is right before our eyes. The Bible is clear – God is in control. How He maintains control over Earth is a mystery. That He does it without showing Himself I call His silence.


God’s silence is not too hard to penetrate, if you really want to see and hear Him. The evidences of His handiwork are all around us if we want to acknowledge Him. However, if we do not want to give Him respect, we can easily ignore Him and deny Him the recognition He is due. Thus, His silence compliments our power of choice. God can be either the greatest and most wonderful being in the universe, or if we choose, we can deny His existence. What a God! Perhaps the least understood element within God’s character is His reluctance to awe His creatures with His powers and presence. His silence will be a topic of eternal discovery!



A Very Important Point


When God breaks His silence by raining down His judgments upon Earth, the events will be understood even though God will be grossly misunderstood. To appease God and stay His awful judgments, the world’s religious and political systems will enact laws “honoring God” that will be contrary to what He actually wants! What God seeks from man is a repentant heart and a willing attitude. He calls men and women to live a life free of the damning power of sin. Even more, He grants men and women who put their faith in Him, the power to achieve victory over sin. Unfortunately, revelation predicts that most men and women will reject God’s gracious offer of grace, the power over sin and resulting salvation. The hearts of many people have become hardened in rebellion because of their love for sin. Nevertheless, this is not the end of the story. Revelation also predicts that the wicked will be marked by a spirit of intolerance when confronted with the Holy Spirit’s authority within God’s messengers. A day is coming when evil men will punish and torture those who obey the living God of Heaven. The persecutors will think, like Pilate, that they can wash their hands from their guilt. However, God never ignores evil even though He may allow it to flourish for a season. God will avenge every evil deed and be sure justice is equitably administered for all the pain inflicted upon His children  (See Revelation 18:6 and Obadiah 1:15.)


In the context of His coming judgments, God’s character and His behavior will be misrepresented and misinterpreted. This is the heart of Revelation’s story. It is a story of a loving God visiting a planet in trouble. It is a story of a just God rendering justice and a merciful God extending mercy. What does it say about the human race when God is left with no other alternative than deadly judgments to gain man’s full attention?


Revelation is a story about rebellious people and a world gone astray. Most people, when put to the coming test of faith in God, will openly and conscientiously reject the clearest evidences of God’s truth. They will rebel against the Ten Commandments of the Most High God by obeying the laws of the coming Antichrist – the devil himself. God is going to allow Satan to physically appear at an appointed time. This is one of the most deadly deceptions to occur during the Great Tribulation. You need to understand that God allows the devil to appear and personate Christ before Christ returns. Many people receive this deception as a true manifestation of Christ because “they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10) This imposter will claim to be God and will lead people of Earth to believe that he has come to establish a thousand years of peace. However, his claims are lies. Why will this coming imposter dupe the majority of the world? Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)


Keep in mind that the Bible underscores a glorious but sublime truth. God does not condemn a person for believing a lie. Rather, He condemns only the people who willfully refuse to believe the truth! Think of it this way. If God places the clearest evidence of truth before His creatures and they refuse to agree with His principles of righteousness and His sovereign authority, what more can be done? Is life – whose source is God – a privilege or a right? From God’s perspective, are rebellious creatures just as deserving of eternal life as submissive creatures? Where in this universe can a rebellious creature live in peace, if God is omnipresent throughout His realm? We must address these thoughtful questions. The eternal kingdom of God has a set of issues and parameters that go far beyond our brief life span of 70 years and the limits of travel we have today. Therefore, we should think about the issues of His kingdom, if we plan to be part of it.


If my conclusions are right, God is about to break His silence. On that dreadful day, everyone will know that God’s patience with sin and sinners has reached a limit. On that day, mortals living on a tiny speck of a planet called earth will know that Almighty God, owner of the Universe, has summoned man to appear before His everlasting throne of righteousness. Is there anything we can do about these coming events? Yes. We can prepare to be part of God’s new creation. How does one get prepared? By first understanding the issues involved and the process, that God is going to follow to resolve the problems of Earth. These matters are explained in only one place – The Bible. So, get ready, for ready or not, the kingdom of God is at hand!


The Coming Events

The Bible predicts a future period of time when God will cause 14 calamitous events to occur on planet Earth. These horrific events are described in the book of Revelation. “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. They were given power over a fourth of Earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the Earth.” (Revelation 6:7,8) There is evidence throughout the Bible that God has used these four judgments down through history to deal with peoples and nations of the world when their cup of sin became full. The Bible also reveals that He only uses these judgments when sin and rebellion reach a point where His love and mercy no longer has a redeeming effect. (See Ezekiel 5.) Therefore, the judgments described in the fourth seal are literal and should be taken very seriously. Death and destruction will be everywhere. In fact, if the population of planet Earth is 6.0 billion today, then 25% of that number would mean 1.5 billion casualties! 


More than a billion casualties tell us that God is willing to sacrifice much for the salvation of others. After all, didn’t He sacrifice His own Son for the salvation of all? We cannot conceptualize the breadth of God’s interest in our salvation without considering the extensive destruction of the fourth seal. To some, this may sound terribly cruel and unfair. However, if the coming of Jesus is delayed another century, all 6.0 billion people currently living on Earth will die anyway because the wages of sin is death. By accelerating the death of some people, others will be saved. This seems strange to say, but God is left, at times, with no other option but to destroy many people to save a few. Remember the flood?


Understand that God’s wrath is not like human temper. His anger is justified. The coming 14 judgments have a purpose. The seven first plagues are for the saving of mankind and the seven last plagues are reserved for the destruction of those who chose to rebel against His authority. Remember that God will fairly judge those who perish in His forthcoming judgments, just as He now judges all who die. God is more than fair.



How will the Four Judgments Come?


Revelation’s story explains how and when the four judgments of the fourth seal will be suddenly released. God has four angels currently holding back the four winds of His judgments – sword, famine, plague and wild beasts. Winds symbolize destruction and four winds symbolize global destruction. (See Genesis 41:27; Exodus 10:13; Job 1:19; Psalm 11:6; Jeremiah 30:23.) After God selects and empowers 144,000 people to proclaim the terms of the gospel, the four angels will release the four winds of destruction. (Revelation 7:1-4)


Then, 144,000 evangelists whom God has chosen and strategically located in every country on Earth will explain the purposes of God’s judgments. They will proclaim a comprehensive message about salvation and that Jesus is returning soon. After the Fourth seal judgments begin, the devil himself will appear and claim to be God in the flesh. To make his dominion of Earth complete, the devil will demand that his followers kill the 144,000 and all who follow them.


We Must Listen to the 144,000

The 144,000 of Revelation 7 are people in whom God will grant special powers. (See Luke 9 for an example.) The 144,000 will be empowered by the Two Witnesses, which are the Bible and the Holy Spirit. The 144, 000 will be human agents through whom the Two Witnesses will reach every person. Like Moses and Elijah, the 144,000 will perform many miracles to verify that their message is from God. The Holy Spirit will stir every heart, and signs and wonders will add credibility to the Truth of God’s Word. Revelation 11:6 says the Two Witnesses (working through the 144,000) will perform miracles and can strike Earth with every kind of plague as often as they want!



Seven Trumpets


When these events occur, there will be no question that God is doing exactly what He said He would do. His plans can be understood by anyone who wants to know what His coming actions are. Think about this: If the Bible record of coming events was obscure, how could God’s children be certain that He is in control when the tribulation begins? This simple point will someday stand in direct opposition to the claims of skeptics. Indeed, you can be sure of this development: Many scoffers will deny that the judgments are deliberate Acts of God. Instead, they will say that these calamities are nothing more than nature’s random curse.z


The judgments described in the fourth seal will begin suddenly. (1 Thessalonians 5:3) The judgments of the fourth seal will come first in the form of the seven trumpets and later, in the form of the seven last plagues. In other words, sword, famine, plague and wild beasts are found in the seven trumpets and in the seven last plagues. The time-period of the seven trumpets is redemptive while the time-period of the seven last plagues is destructive.


A Great Earthquake

The first physical sign that marks the opening of the fourth seal will be a great earthquake that shakes the whole world. (Note: This earthquake is the first of four earthquakes predicted in Revelation.) The first earthquake signifies the end of God’s patience with world conditions. In short, Earth’s cup of iniquity will spill over on that day. The first earthquake will not be an ordinary earthquake. It will be distinguished from all previous earthquakes in two ways: 1) It will be accompanied by manifestations in the heavens and on Earth. There will be rumblings deep in the Earth, peals of thunder and lightening – simultaneously observed around the world. 2) It will literally shake all of the nations of the world. The Richter scale will not be able to measure its power.

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