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Five Essential Bible Truths Part 1
Second Coming of Jesus

What Does God Want?

The story that follows is as drastic as the story of the first four trumpets! In a sentence, the administration of life on planet Earth, as we know it, will be changed overnight. Pandemonium, confusion, fear, depression, stupor and distress will rule the day. Out of the suffering certain questions always arise” “Why did God allow this? What does He want?


According to Revelation, a great transformation will take place all over the world as a result of the meteor and asteroid impacts. The most remarkable change in America will be a great surge of national repentance. Currently, only 39% of American attends church regularly. This percentage will change overnight. Religion will become a priority and evangelicals will lead the nation – almost overnight – into a religious revolution.


Number One Question

There are several different religious systems on earth and each one worships its God in a different way. Is there one right way to worship God? Mentally step out into space and look down on Earth for a moment. Moslems believe that God is pleased when people obey the teachings of Mohammed. Catholics believe that God is pleased when people obey the pope and the laws of the church. Protestants, Jews, Hindus and others have differing ideas on what pleases God. Which religious system is right? Does God really care how we worship Him as long as we worship Him? The question is about to become the number one question on Earth. In today’s context, the question appears to be rhetorical, but when God’s anger is felt by billions of people, this question will become paramount.


Desperate circumstances quickly unite people when the focus on a common problem or solution. (The war between Iraq and the United Nations, led by the United States, in 1990 proved this point.) Shortly after the trumpets begin, Revelation predicts the world will participate in the rapid development of a global coalition. Instead of nations fighting and quarreling among themselves over lesser things like power, land or money, the judgments of God will propel religious leaders into a significant leadership role over confused people. Prompted by terror, controlled by fear and trying to be significant, clerics will call for drastic measures to appease God so His judgments will cease. Because the destruction of the first four trumpets is global, the union of religious leaders will be global.



The Wrath of God


A great change will occur overnight in the way people think about God. Most Christians talk about God’s love. Hid great salvation and forgiveness, but little is said about the things that make Him angry. Many Christians even deny that God has wrath! Consequently, when His judgments begin to fall, many Christians will be at a loss to reconcile these “Acts of God” with their assumed knowledge of God. The result will be great fear and terror.



It is not difficult for God to frighten people. He only needs to tamper with things that make us feel secure to get our attention. When lives and property are destroyed, the survivors tend to renew their acquaintance with God. Like Israel of old, all nations will tremble with fear before Almighty God during the days of His visitation. (Exodus 20:18-21) The solution to pleasing or appeasing God – so that His destruction of earth will stop – will appear simple on the surface. Religious leaders will cry out, “Submit to the authority of God.” However, how does a person worship the God of Heaven so that His wrath is satisfied? (Remember, one of the five doctrinal pillars in this story is the truth about the worship of God.)


Revelation explains what God wants. John saw a message going throughout the world saying, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7) Notice the last sentence of this verse itemizes the four things affected by the first four trumpets! Religious people, the world over, will quickly agree why the judgments are falling and what they are, but how to implement a solution that will please God will become a global nightmare! The nightmare is because the judgments of God will be common upon all people, but there are different religions on the Earth and each claim that its way is the only right way to worship God.


Laws Enforcing Worship

Revelation predicts that people the world over will respond to the devastation of the trumpets by enforcing laws that demand the worship of God. However, there will be no consistency between the laws; instead, there will be great confusion. Catholics and Protestants will seek laws that agree with their theology, Jews will make laws agreeing with their doctrine, Moslems will want laws respecting their beliefs in Allah, and other bodies will demand similar laws. Notice the problem that occurs with diverse religions. How can diverse religions appease one God? Is He a God of many religions?



To address this global diversity, Revelation states that a global coalition of religious representatives will quickly form. This coalition will try to solve the problem of diverse views about God. This coming union is called “Babylon” in the Bible because Babylon symbolizes confusion.


So, why does Babylon form? Well meaning religious people will stampede the political processes of their respective countries after the trumpets begin, and the legislated results will be very confusing, severe and most distressing. In every nation, religious leaders will demand laws to end the “reign of sin” so that God may be appeased and the judgments stopped. Politicians will be powerless to stop the increase of religious sentiment and the laws will be enacted overnight. Compare Daniel 3 with Revelation 13 and you will find that modern Babylon’s story parallels the experience of ancient Babylon. Modern Babylon, like ancient Babylon, will be made up of many religions, cultures and nationalities.


Satan Appears in Person

Planet Earth has received a deadly blow and chaos reigns. The next event described in Revelation is the fifth trumpet. The fifth trumpet reveals the devil himself will appear on Earth after the “dust settles” from the asteroid impacts. He may first appear in the Middle East, Perhaps Jerusalem. The Bible does not say, but many orthodox Jews anticipate the imminent arrival of Messiah to deliver them from their enemies. Their hopes for the coming Messiah would provide an excellent platform for Satan to weave his masquerade of deception and use it to great advantage. This would be especially effective, since many Christians believe the Jews are still God’s chosen people. In addition to the Jews’ expectation of the coming Messiah, the Arabs also believe a Deliverer will soon appear. It is not hard to see why the Middle East could be an excellent geographical target for Satan!



The Fifth Trumpet

Be assured that God will only allow the devil to physically appear after a significant part of the world has heard the gospel. Satan is allowed to appear because most of the Earth has already heard and rejected the gospel as proclaimed by the 144,000. Therefore, God releases and allows the devil to rule over those who refused to recognize Him as the Almighty. This is an interesting point about the Great Tribulation: Each man will have a master, either by his choice or by force. So, who will it be?


The fifth trumpet of Revelation 9:1-11 is described by John as the bottomless pit being “unlocked.” God shows John something that looks like a great swarm of locusts coming up out of the Earth. As the swarm draws closer to him though, John can see that they look more like riders on horses. Directing this “swarm” of riders is an angel king whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek, is Apollyon. Both names mean the same thing: “destroyer.”


The release of Satan and his angels from the bottomless pit reveals three important things. First, Satan will not come in the clouds of glory exactly like Jesus. Although Satan will do everything in his power to imitate Jesus’ second coming. God limits the deception of the devil. Satan will appear to come down from the clouds in various places. This is why Jesus said,  “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.” (Matthew 24:23) Second, God does not allow Satan to physically appear on Earth until the first four trumpets have sounded. Last, the physically appearing of the devil is designed by God to force everyone into a firm decision. The door of salvation is still open for anyone who might repent of his or her rebellion and turn to God.


According to Revelation 9, after Satan and his evil angels appear, they will torment the “unsaved” people for five months. Scripture does not reveal just how the torment is inflicted and what the torment is. However, it does say that the torment will hurt like a scorpion’s sting. People who are afflicted will long to die, but they will actually survive the ordeal.


An Angel of Light 

Satan will so dazzle Earth’s inhabitants with his glory that many people will believe his claims to be God based on his appearance alone. Paul says, “…for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) Revelation states that when Satan appears, he will be so dazzling and glorious that most people will be awestruck when they actually see him! “…The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast….” (Revelation 17:8, Italics added.)



Satan Works Miracles and Wonders

Satan’s first work after appearing “in the flesh” as a glorious god-man will be to convince the world that he is divine – that he is actually God. Paul warns, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the second coming) will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God….The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Corinthians 2:3,4,9,10)


One miracle that Satan will use above all others to convince doubting people that he is God will be to call fire down out of Heaven at will! This “proof of divinity” will make his deceptions secure for many, many people. John says, “And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth….” (Revelation 13:13,14)


Satan the “Lamb-like” Beast

John describes the appearing of Satan as a “lamb-like” beast. The intended contrast is obvious, since Jesus is referred to in Revelation as “The Lamb” more than 29 times. Because the devil masquerades as Jesus, John describes Satan as a “lamb-like” beast who speaks like a dragon. John also warns that he will make every effort to deceive the world.


Obviously, this coming demonic god man will rule over Babylon. The ultimate purpose behind his deceit is to unite as many people as possible into a one-world religion and then implement his one-world order. Satan will eventually obtain a death penalty for those who will refuse to meet his demands. At that time, the followers of Jesus will be exposed because they refused to join ranks with the devil and receive his tattoo, the mark of the lamb-like beast. After Satan has appeared in various places on the Earth for a few months, he will call on his followers, located in every nation, to take control. He will ask his followers to arm themselves and fight to establish his kingdom. Revelation 9:13-21 describes the sixth trumpet and a world war. This war will be similar to the Civil War that occurred in the United States – brother fighting against brother – only this war will take place in every nation on Earth. Satan’s followers intend to dominate their respective nations on behalf of the one they believe to be God! Millions will die as a result of this war. The Bible says in Revelation 9:16 that the number of troops will be 200,000,000. The devil himself being the angel king, will have four generals that will have 50,000,000 evil angels under each of their commands, to slaughter the non-righteous wicked and the saints when the sixth seal is opened. Because of the carnage from this world war, wild animals will multiply rapidly. They will feed on the dead like the birds that feed on the wicked after the second coming. (Revelation 19:21)



A Day of Testing

The seven trumpets are specifically designed by God to awaken the world to the return of Jesus. If anyone wishes to receive salvation during this time-period, he or she must worship the Creator of the heavens, Earth, the sea and the springs of water. The word worship simply means ‘to render obedience.” Now, every Christian should know that man is not saved by obedience, for the Bible states that we are saved by faith. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Therefore, the primary purpose of the Great Tribulation is to test faith. God is going to test the faith of every person by setting before us a life or death test. In this context, each person’s faith will be revealed through obedience! Those choosing to submit to the laws of man will reject God’s sovereign authority. Those choosing to submit to the laws of God will reject man’s effort to dictate how God is to be worshiped. It is interesting that the penalty for rejecting either law – God’s or man’s – is death. Read Daniel 3 and Daniel 6 for two stories that demonstrate the ultimate test of faith.


The Seventh Trumpet

The mystery of God will be accomplished just before the seventh trumpet sounds. (Revelation 10:7) Everyone will have made his or her decision, for or against God’s truth. Everyone will have been sealed or received the mark of the beast. With all decisions final, God closes the door of mercy.


Just before the door of mercy is closed, there will be a great number of martyrs for the cause of Christ. When every decision has been made, the Heavenly temple will be cleansed and the wrath of God will be released in full measure upon the people who have received the mark of the beast.


Seven Last Plagues

The seven last plagues follow the seven first plagues (seven trumpets) and the seven last plagues include the four judgments! These seven last plagues are described in Revelation 16 and all who receive the mark of the beast will receive these destructive judgments. The first judgment is a plague of sores that falls upon those receiving the mark of the beast. The second plague, like the second trumpet, affects the sea; however, all the oceans of the world turn to blood like the blood of a dead man and all the sea creatures die. The third plague affects fresh water around the world. All the rivers and springs are turned to blood, so rivers and springs are turned to blood, so people who shed the blood of the saints and prophets are given blood to drink. The fourth plague causes the sun to scorch wicked people throughout the world. They will curse the name of God, but they refuse to repent and glorify Him. These plagues deplete what food supplies remain. Famine will become pandemic. Note that these plagues fall only on those who have rejected God’s offer of salvation. People remaining faithful to Jesus will not be affected by these last seven plagues.


The fifth plague focuses on Satan and his throne. His kingdom is immediately plunged into darkness and pain. The Bible indicates that Satan’s minions will gnaw their tongues in pain. This darkness seems appropriate for those who chose to reject the light of God’s truth.



The sixth plague causes the river Euphrates to dry up in preparation for the appearing of the Kings from the East (our Heavenly Father and His Son). Satan and his demons will attempt to gather all the armies of Earth to war against Almighty God, but God will end this attempt to challenge His authority. (Revelation 20:7-10) Both Jesus and the Father will appear in the clouds of glory shortly before the seventh plague occurs. This may be a new thought for some people, that the Father will attend the Son at the second coming. But notice the words of Jesus, “…But I say unto you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64) Compare this with Revelation 6:16,17: “They called to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” The seventh plague will demonstrate who is master of the universe and rebellion against Almighty God will no longer be tolerated. It aptly demonstrates what happens when sin comes face to face with a Holy God and His wrath.


Conclusion

When Jesus was here on Earth, He gave us a promise that resounds in the hearts of Christians to this day. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3) What a precious promise, especially when we consider what is before us. Paul describes the second coming like this: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)



If you know Jesus as your Savior, you have no reason to be afraid. The Psalmist wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me….” (Psalm 23:4) If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus, then do so today! Obey the teachings of Jesus and live by faith in His promises. Be willing and obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and God will take care of you. Search for God’s truth and it will strengthen you. Earth’s cup of iniquity is almost full. God is about to break His silence.


Revelation contains a story of desperate love for man. Jesus is anxious to save! Sadly, most people are unable to understand the character of God and His kingdom because we are so blighted by sin. However, God will bring to the front of every person’s conscience, the reality of His character by sending His judgments. Into this turmoil, He will send 144,000 messengers explaining the terms and conditions of salvation. Yes, He wants everyone to be saved, but many people will not listen, nor give the respect due to Him. Unfortunately, some people will have to discover their desperate need of a loving Savior in times of distress. What does it say of man when God is left with nothing other than the outpouring of His wrath to get our undivided attention?


Sound Asleep?

Many Christians scoff at the suggestion that the Lord will return this decade. They see no reason for all the excitement and say, “All things continue as usual – why all the fuss?” These people are content with spiritual poverty. They have no idea about the events coming upon the Earth, and even worse, do not want to hear about it! They like religious programming – entertainment that features talented singers and gifted speakers with clever ideas. They do not want to hear about the wrath of God nor the cross that they must bear. Unfortunately, Satan has convinced many within the Christian church that they are either safe from the tribulation or that life will continue as usual until Jesus returns. How sad that these deceptions are so widely accepted.



Get Prepared

If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that salvation comes by faith in Jesus and not membership in any church. God knows our fears are great and that man is made of the dust of the ground. Yet, God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place. Yes, the events before us are frightening. Yes, the coming tribulation will be more terrible than anything the world has ever experienced. However, the presence of God will be closer than ever before and His peace more valuable than gold. So, give yourself to Him right now. Tell the Lord that you are willing to be, to do and go as He commands. Then when He comes, YOU will be saved. Jesus guarantees it!

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