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To the Reader

If separated from the larger context of this study, this study could make God appear to be a very cruel and unfairly harsh-so please read subsequent studies as soon as possible! The devil delights in distorting the character of God whenever possible. The devil wants people to see God as a vengeful tyrant or a divine Santa Claus that can do no harm. Of course, both extremes are false. The same God, who destroyed the world in Noah’s day and sent fiery brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, also sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. (John 3:16) In short, God reveals His love for the human race in a well-documented balance between justice and mercy. Bible history proves that God is longsuffering. He extends mercy to sinners day after day, year after year – until the day comes when extended, mercy no longer has any redeeming effect. Then God justifiably responds in wrath to deal with defiant rebellion. I offer this introductory statement because the contents of this study may seem overwhelming the first time you read it, but please press on and read Study 2 as soon as possible.

No Longer a Book of Mystery

The book of Revelation contains several prophecies that integrate into one big story. Some prophecies in Revelation have been underway for centuries and others are about to begin. When we properly assemble all of the prophecies, a mind boggling drama unfolds. God’s ways are wonderful to understand and so thrilling to discover. Some prophecies in Revelation are easy to understand and others are difficult at first, but we can say the same of God. Certain aspects about God are easier to understand than others. Ultimately, the book of Revelation confirms the good news that most people want to hear: A world of eternal joy and endless bliss is coming. The bad news is that God is going to test the inhabitants of Earth before He sets up His kingdom. (Revelation 3:10)  God will separate ‘the sheep from the goats” before the Second Coming. The separation of the sheep from the goats is an important process in God’s plans because God will not permit rebellious people (represented by the goats) to enter His coming kingdom. God’s kingdom is reserved for people who love Him and exalt His righteous ways. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God….Nothing impure will ever enter it [the holy city], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life….He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Matthew 5:8; Revelation 21:27, 4, insertion mine)

The book of Revelation reveals that God will soon inflict the world with a series of 14 plagues. These events will not occur in random order nor will they be freak disasters caused by nature. The seven first plagues are called “seven trumpets” in Revelation because they serve the purpose of warning or awakening the people of Earth to the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ. The seven last plagues are called seven bowls because they represent seven full cups of God’s vengeance that He will pour out upon His enemies. Although the Bible completely explains these events, they will come as an overwhelming surprise for most people. Our Creator has carefully designed these coming events to achieve His goals, and He will carefully execute these judgments so that He can redeem the maximum number of people, As you read this these studies, periodically remind yourself of two things: First, God so loved this world that He gave His only Son to die in our place and second, God’s patience with defiance and rebellion is limited. During the Great Tribulation, the people of Earth will see God’s perfect balance between justice and mercy. Remember this balance as you consider this study about the Great Tribulation. The next few pages give a brief overview of coming events.

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