August 20, 2012
What Tribulation judgments are specifically mentioned in the Bible? How drastic are they?
The word judgment is a fearsome word. It speaks of finality-such as when the judge of an earthly proceeding delivers the sentence to the defendant in a court of law. A judgment is indicative of a period when time has run out. In a spiritual context, it is when the days and hours are no longer on the side of the person who denies God and refuses to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior. Taking a hard look at events occurring on today’s world scene, there is no doubt that we are approaching that time of final judgment. The signs are upon us if we have eyes to see. However, there are other critical judgments to reckon with prior to or during the judgments that occur during the Tribulation. Let’s look at them.
- Judgment of the believer’s sin. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22). More than nineteen hundred years ago, Christ came from heaven’s glory to shed His precious blood for a world of ungodly sinners. He did not die for His own sin, for He knew no sin, but became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through His substitutionary death, dying for mankind, all who receive this Christ can have the past, present, and future stains of sin forgiven and forgotten (Hebrews 8:12). “The blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7; see Titus 3:5 and Romans 8:1).
- Judgment of the believer’s service. The believer’s lifetime of works are judged at the bema seat (2 Corinthians 5:10). Some Christians do not take this judgment seriously. However, to do so is to refuse life in accordance with God’s plan. The life of a Christian will be judged, and God’s pronouncement of that verdict must not be taken lightly. If one fails God’s investigative judgment in that day, there will be no crowns to place before Christ on His throne (Revelation 4:10-11).
- Judgment of Israel. When the armies of the world converge on the Middle East, culminating at Israel (Zechariah 14:2; Ezekiel 38, 39), this period of bloody devastation becomes the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). During this Tribulation period, the whole world will come into judgment. One in three will be consumed by fire, and one-half of all people will die during this time (Revelation 6:8; 9:18). Numerous passages describe this time as the earth’s worst event (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Joel 2:2). Jesus said, “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). At this time they will “look on Him whom they have pierced.” Their response will cause them to repent and recognize Christ as Messiah.
- Judgment of the nations. Matthew 25 pictures the glorious return of Christ to this earth. This correlates with Revelation 19:11-16 when Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. After Armageddon-and before He establishes His millennial kingdom upon earth (Revelation 20:4)-Christ purges the earth of its rebels. The “sheep” nations are invited to enter the kingdom (Millennium) along with the “brethren,” the Jews. The goats-those who mistreated Jews and rejected Christ-are cast into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41,46).
Twenty-One Special Judgments
There are a total of twenty-one special judgments that fall upon earth during the Tribulation period. They are in three series of sevens described as seals, trumpets, and vials (or bowls):
The Seal Judgments: This is the beginning of the program of God to pour out judgments upon the earth. I encourage you to open your Bible and read each judgment carefully to understand the finality of God’s pronouncements. These include:
- The world’s greatest dictator (Revelation 6:1-2)
- The world’s greatest war (Revelation 6:3-4)
- The world’s greatest famine (Revelation 6:5-6)
- The world’s greatest death blow (Revelation 6:7-8)
- The world’s greatest persecution (Revelation 6:9-11)
- The world’s greatest ecological disaster (Revelation 6:12-17)
- The world’s greatest hour of fear … actually the lull before the storm (Revelation 8:1)
The Trumpet Judgments: The trumpets of heaven sound an alarm throughout the world announcing the public judgments of God. Each blast ushers in an added judgment.
- The world’s greatest fire (Revelation 8:7)
- The world’s greatest oceanic disturbance (Revelation 8:8-9)
- The world’s greatest pollution of water (Revelation 8:10-11)
- The world’s greatest darkness (Revelation 8:12-13)
- The world’s greatest pestilential invasion (Revelation 9:1-6)
- The world’s greatest army (Revelation 9:16)
- The world’s greatest storm (Revelation 11:15-19)
The Vial Judgments:
- The world’s greatest epidemic (Revelation 16:2)
- The world’s greatest contamination by blood (Revelation 16:3-7)
- The world’s greatest contamination by blood, continued (Revelation 16:3-7)
- The world’s greatest scorching (Revelation 16:8-9)
- The world’s greatest plague (Revelation 16:10-11)
- The world’s greatest invasion (Revelation 16:12)
- The world’s greatest earthquake (Revelation 16:18)
These twenty-one judgments unleash unbelievable war, ecological disasters, and atomic catastrophe on our earth. Note this judgment in particular; Revelation 14:20 reads, “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” According to today’s calculations, that is a river of blood two hundred miles long-the exact length of the nation of Israel. Think of it! An entire nation saturated and soaked with blood. As believers, you and I can be grateful that the Rapture is coming, because it means we-the Church of Jesus Christ-will not be present to endure this terrible suffering. The Bride will be at home, at the marriage ceremony, and afterward return for the supper (Revelation 19:7-16).
What is Jacobs Time of Trouble?
In Jeremiah 30:7-8 we read, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him.” Jacob is Israel. This is reconfirmed in Romans 11:26: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” This period of time is also referred to as “Daniel’s Seventieth Week” (Daniel 9:24).
In biblical history, the first sixty-nine weeks refer exclusively to Israel and, as we’ve noted earlier, it follows logically that the seventieth or final week must also involve the nation of Israel. A careful survey of chapters 30 and 31 of Jeremiah summarizes Israel’s endurance in the hour of Tribulation-a truth affirmed by all the Old Testament prophets. In Ezekiel 38 and 39, eighteen different passages mark Israel as the victim of Gog and Magog’s deadliest war. Jacob’s trouble is so named because of Jeremiah’s prophecy; “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble,” and Jacob is Israel (2 Kings 17:34). Here the prophet was speaking of the seven-year period known as the Tribulation when, after the removal of the Church, earth suddenly plunges into its most horrendous hour (Matthew 24:21).
A further word on the seventieth week of Daniel – a chapter on which a full understanding of the end times rests. This significant “week” will be a period of 7 years, 84 months, each having 360 days by the old Jewish calendar, for a total of 2,520 days. In Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6, half of this period is recorded as 1,260 days. When that is doubled, it becomes 2,520 days. It is a time of unprecedented trouble. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it” (Jeremiah 30:7).
This period is divided into three sections. The first division comprised 7 weeks, or a period of 49 years, and had to do with the rebuilding of Jerusalem in troublesome times past (Daniel 9:25). The second division of 62 weeks, or 434 years, signaled the time of Christ’s death after the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This prophecy was fulfilled exactly on schedule when Christ came and offered Himself to Israel, but was rejected and cut off (Daniel 9:26). This was the Crucifixion, after the completion of His offer as King. The rebuilding of Jerusalem began on March 14, 445 B.C., and Christ was cut off on schedule. Now Israel must pay the price for rejecting her King. So a final week is coming when the Antichrist will confirm his peace covenant with many for one week, or seven years (Daniel 9:27). When the Antichrist usurps the throne that rightfully belongs to Christ, he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; “and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26). This is the time of Jacob’s (or Israel’s) trouble, resulting from the rejection of Christ. God’s chastisement then creates an attitude of acceptance for the true King-the Lord Jesus Christ-at the close of the seventieth week.
There is no doubt about it; Israel travails greatly before the King returns. Jeremiah’s prophecy proves it: “For, lo, the days come, saith the lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:3-7).
Daniel also describes the day of sorrow when a monstrous anti-Semite dictator, satanically energized, “shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:25). The Lord Jesus Himself stated in Matthew 24:9, 21-22, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake…. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s [Israel’s] sake those days shall be shortened.”
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
IS YOUR MARRIAGE BEWILDERING?
Someone once told me that he thought it must have been an effort to be friendly toward and act genuinely interested in the 250 guests I interviewed. I replied that it was not an act with me-I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these amazing people and listening to their fascinating accounts. I had the privilege of interviewing well-known personalities-people who touched lives through politics, the sciences, the arts, and literature.
One of the most memorable authors I interviewed was Florence Littauer, who gave a fascinating account of her wedding. Like most young ladies, Florence had long dreamed of the day she would be married. She was employed as a high school drama teacher when she became engaged to a wonderful young man, so she decided to let her pupils participate in planning and arranging some of the details of her wedding. “Everybody worked,” she told me. “We had the auto shop boys find a white Cadillac; the wood shop boys made scepters for the bridesmaids; and, of course, I was the queen. My students wrote to Life Magazine suggesting that they come and cover their teachers wedding.
Both Florence and her students were surprised when reporters and photographers from Life actually appeared. For weeks they followed Florence around taking notes and pictures. The wedding was a dream come true, and being chosen by the magazine as “Bride of the Year” only made it better.
But, Florence told me, her marriage that began with so much fanfare soon ran into serious trouble. Only with the Lords help, much prayer, and a great deal of growth in the lives of her husband and herself was the couple able to overcome the weaknesses in their crumbling marriage and rebuild it stronger than ever. Out of the experience, Florence wrote a book, appropriately titled, After Every Wedding Comes a Marriage.
Based on her experiences, as well as my own, I am focusing this chapter on the special ingredients that are vital to a successful and happy marriage.
In counseling couples with marital problems, Ive found that dissatisfaction often seems to center in family life. For example, a husband who undergoes unusual stress at work frequently transmits that stress to his relationship with his wife. Likewise, a wife who is dissatisfied may shower her feelings of depression and resentment on her husband. Consequently, one of the first casualties of dissatisfaction is often the marriage.
I believe the quality of ones love is a barometer of the state of the marriage. When the marital “love level” (I especially like this term) declines, coldness in the relationship sets in. Wives, your husbands are the last ones who should bear the brunt of your baffled feelings. Husbands, the same is true of your wives. Why is it, then, that the ones we love most are often the first to feel the heat of our negative feelings? The last person with whom we should be short of temper is our spouse, and yet so often the opposite is true. In fact, a popular song from the past was titled, “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” as if that made everything all right.
Genuine love demands an unconditional commitment and requires a daily, conscious effort in order to grow stronger. Because this is especially true in the marriage relationship, those looking for an easy way out will not experience success in matrimony. I have advised many women that they must be willing to do whatever is necessary to make their marriage rewarding. “Work at it,” I tell them.
Some of the best advice I ever received came early in my own marriage-“Love your husband. It will put iron in his spine.”
Ive made that my philosophy, and it has worked. Thus, I tell those who seek my help, “Love your mate when its easy, and love him when its not. Love him unconditionally.”
Unfeigned love, you see, begets more love because we are all responders. So as the partners commit themselves to showing love toward each other, the relationship blossoms and grows in strength and beauty.
Too many people view love as something that must be earned or deserved. Yet, love that is not unconditional is not really love at all. The essence of Gods divine nature is love-unconditional love. He loved us in spite of our shortcomings. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.
Dont try to change your spouse
Too many people marry their spouses thinking that they can change the other person into someone more to their likes or dislikes. Florence Littauer told me that if this were possible, she and her husband, Fred, would have done it. “I set out to make Fred fun like me,” she said, “and Fred was determined to get me organized like him.” Her advice to those trying to change their partners-“it wont work!” Disillusionment and discouragement are bound to be the result, and ultimately the marriage will flounder and may fail. A successful marriage cannot be built on unrealistic expectations.
Since real love is an unconditional commitment to the good of another, the attitude that seeks to change the other partner is often based on selfish motives. Selfishness and true love are incompatible. Being committed to the good of another involves making sacrifices, giving, and yielding-all without demanding repayment or reward.
Submitting youselves one to another
Ephesians 5:21, the doorway to the apostle Pauls discussion about marriage and the family, speaks of submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Here, I believe, is the key to success in marriage. I know it works, for it has worked for Jack and me, and Ive seen it work in many marriages. It can be summed up in a single word-submission. I am not speaking of some kind of self-abdication that makes a woman subservient to her husband, but a mutual biblical submission that makes a husband and wife partners together in life.
What this means is that the husband and wife should be more concerned about the desires, the preferences, and the needs of their spouse than they are with their own. The result of such an attitude is a relationship where nothing is demanded and nothing is expected. Rather, everything is given freely and received with gratitude and humility. Instead of yearning to be served, each yearns to serve-that is real love.
You can see how this kind of love cannot be damaged by unfulfilled expectations. It asks for nothing, it insists on nothing-it just gives. It is not manipulative, it is not suspicious, and it takes nothing for granted. I believe if we will strive to infuse that kind of love into our marriages, we can guarantee their success.
There is a deep satisfaction that comes with submitting ourselves one to another. In earlier days when Jack and I had very little materially, we were content just to be together. We never felt we needed money or houses or things to make our marriage better. Just enjoying each other was more than enough.
This remains true today. The Lord has blessed us in many ways, and yet our greatest enjoyment still comes from being together and enjoying each others presence. Although we both like to “get away from it all” each year, we do not limit our vacation plans to where I want to go or what Jack would like to do. Instead, we try to determine how we can spend our time together.
A few years ago, for example, we vacationed in Toronto. Rather than spending a lot of money on activities to keep us entertained, we took long walks together. In fact, we walked about ten miles a day, just talking, sharing, and spending time with each other. Jack indulges my appetite for art by browsing through a museum with me – he wants us to enjoy each day to the fullest. Our marriage is a partnership in which friendship, respect, affection, and the wonder of love all play key roles. We do not need external, artificial, or material things to make it work. Oh, I appreciate his thoughtful gifts (he never forgets a special day) but this is not the glue that holds us together.
Taking time to share
The value of sharing in marriage cannot be over-emphasized. The inability of one or both partners to truly care about and become involved in the life of the other is one of the major reasons that interest and affection often begin to wane in the early years of wedlock. Instead of becoming a part of each other, husbands and wives all too frequently find themselves drifting apart.
As I have already indicated, sharing does not have to be contrived or implemented as a duty or chore. Indeed, it should be a natural outflow of the bond of oneness into which the bride and groom entered on their wedding day. Just taking the time to talk about goals, desires, decisions, and accomplishments-perhaps even fears and frustrations-is all that is required. The mutual commitment of each to the other will do the rest.
One of the most beautiful aspects of my walk with Jack has been our continual ability to communicate. One of the most endearing compliments he has given me was on an occasion when he arrived home from the office, walked into the kitchen, put his arm around me and said, “The sweetest part of my day is being able to come home to you and talk about everything that has happened.” We started talking on our honeymoon and we have never stopped. I have to smile, even as I share this with you, at the number of times we have entered an elevator in a hotel talking about something, and minutes later suddenly realized we had forgotten to push the button for the floor to which we were going. Oh, there have been those times of silent communication, also.
The eloquence of silence
The best gift I could give to Jack while he was memorizing Gods Word in a motel room or traveling back and forth from an auditorium in a van was the gift of my silence. This silence was good for me as well for it taught me the importance of using quiet times to my advantage-reading the Bible, praying, practicing, writing letters, composing an article for our magazine, or simply meditating. It is important to meditate and communicate with God in our thoughts. How long has it been since you enjoyed a silent time of direct communication with your heavenly Father? However, even during the quiet times, Jack and I were never far apart in communicating. Does this sound strange? You can know each other so well that even a smile, a gaze, or a nod of the head can be beautiful communication.
I also want to mention that the need for sharing increases tremendously as children are born. Then, more than ever, quality time spent together in activities that involve every family member will enrich ones life immensely. One of the most important and valuable things is a family devotional time when dad, as the head of the home, shares his faith with those whom God has entrusted to his care. A caring, concerned, loving father will never neglect the responsibility and opportunity to train up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6).
From a social standpoint, family companionship does not have to cost a lot of money. There are many types of wholesome and enjoyable activities that do not cost anything. You can go to a museum, spend a day at the lake or park, attend an outdoor concert, or just go for a drive in the country. Each of these is more valuable than spending time mindlessly absorbed in a television program. And with children, just the fact that you care means more than any material possession you might give them.
Let me stress that no one can have the proper kind of marriage or family relationship without a willingness to give as well as to receive. Perhaps this concept seems foreign to everything you have come to believe. Ours is a society preoccupied with rights-womens rights, childrens rights, civil rights, personal rights, and every other kind of rights. Although many of these rights are important elements of a free society, they can also bring death to individual relationships and especially to marriage. Real love never demands its rights.
One of the purest forms of human love is that of a mother for her baby. Such love is totally selfless and sacrificial. The mother feeds the child, changes him, rocks him, responds when he cries, holds him when he needs her, sings to him, and does virtually everything for him. What does she get from the child in return? Only the satisfaction of having loved. He or she is too immature and dependent to return her love in a meaningful way. He or she can do nothing but demand more of her time and attention. Still, any good mother will tell you that nothing is more satisfying than caring for the needs of an infant.
My heart is deeply grieved by the unnatural affection displayed by some mothers and fathers today. They are unhappy with themselves, but instead of facing the issue openly and honestly, they project their deep-seated dissatisfaction toward their children-even to the point of blaming them for their problems and the irritations of daily life. The result is often child abuse.
What is happening to home life?
On one of our trips to Brussels, Belgium, near where Jacks relatives live, we were walking in the downtown area and passed in front of an arcade. It seemed that there were hundreds of kids hanging out there, playing the machines, totally absorbed in that activity. I remember turning to Jack and saying, “I wonder what their home life is like?”
Today, in almost any town in our country, you will find the same situation, proving that family relationships are at a disturbingly low ebb in our nation.
I once interviewed Georg Andersen, an interior designer with many years experience in various settings, both commercial and residential. I was immediately attracted to his book, Interior Decorating: A Reflection of the Creators Design, because of the cover. It shows a beautifully decorated room, but what caught my attention was the glass-topped coffee table with two childrens chairs alongside. When I read the book I learned that this was the Andersen living room. Provision had been made for the youngest members of the family to be totally included. I was impressed.
This is a subject on which I could spend a great deal of time because, even though I dont have children, it is a topic very dear to my heart. My mind is troubled every time I see children who look lonely and unhappy; I cry when I read stories of child abuse or hear of child abandonment.
I heard about a young couple going through a divorce-the mother had walked out of the marriage leaving behind three small children. Even though she left them with her husband, she was still walking away from her God-given role as a mother. I must confess I do not understand how any woman can do this. She was obviously dissatisfied with the marriage. To walk out on her husband is one thing, but to leave those precious children is something else! I wept when I heard this story.
I do not know the circumstances surrounding that couples failed marriage. I do know there are some cases of wife abuse which would necessitate a separation. (Such was not the case in this instance, I have been assured.) We gaze in disbelief at newspaper headlines that speak about wife-beating (and now even husband abuse), but the fact remains that such incidents are increasing steadily in our society.
We need to realize that the Bible predicts that such an attitude will be prevalent in the “last days” just prior to Christs return (see 2 Timothy 3:3). If you know someone suffering under such conditions or are yourself its victim, seek help immediately. A pastor or qualified Christian counselor will be both able and happy to assist you.
Love gives…and gives again!
True love, then, gives and keeps on giving. This is the kind of love it takes to make a marriage work-love that demands nothing and expects nothing; love that delights to serve and meet needs; love that finds its deepest satisfaction in giving, not receiving.
Such love does not come easily. The mother who waits on her baby was once a baby herself, crying for her own needs to be fulfilled. All of us began that way, and the selfishness of our infancy is something that is not quickly conquered. It takes a great deal of wisdom and maturity to see that satisfaction comes in serving others. Then it takes a great deal of character to have the strength of will to commit oneself to a life of self sacrifice.
Still, this emptying of self is exactly what is required to make a marriage (or any kind of human relationship) workable, fruitful, and rewarding.
Dispelling bewilderment in marriage is always out of reach for those who refuse to submit, sacrifice, and serve. They can never quite obtain what they believe it would take to make them content. The message of Gods Word is this-satisfaction in marriage, in the family, in business, in school, and in life is only for those who deny themselves and delight in serving others.
Marriage, possibly more than any other area of life, is a good gauge of our satisfaction. I do not know of anyone who has a successful marriage who is not basically satisfied. And I know of few whose marriages are failing who will say they are satisfied.
Perhaps you are dissatisfied with your marriage. Have you been looking to the wrong sources for satisfaction? Have you been demanding more than giving? Maybe you are shirking rather than accepting responsibility. Will you ask God to teach you what it is to surrender completely-to Him first, and then to your spouse? I know that if you are able to learn this basic truth and apply it to your life and marriage, your bewilderment will vanish and you can begin anew!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Brother Jack and Sister Rexella Van Impe;
I thank and praise God for you and Rexella! That you preach the Holy Bible and the Truth. People need to hear the truth so they will repent and accept Christ before it is too late. We miss watching your ministry on television, due to the Crouches NOT wanting you to preach the truth! We are so blessed to hear you have you own programs and its a blessing to us that you preach the way you do. Keep preaching the truth, no matter whose toes you step on, because God has given you a great ministry to win souls for Christ, keep pressing on with the Word of God. May God bless and keep you and Rexella always. Our prayers are with you, and may God and His Angels protect you and your ministry!! We Love You!!
May God richly bless you and your ministry!
Thank you so much for your words that are always backed up with Bible verses!
I’m enjoying the Revelation Revealed CD’s so much! I’m so glad it came with the book also! I’m so thankful also for the Animals in Heaven DVD! It helped me so much come to terms with the passing of my little dog that had been a part of my everyday life for almost nine years. I’m so glad we will see each other again in Heaven! The Lord Jesus loves us so much!
Again, thank you for your teaching. It is making these crazy days a little bit more peaceful and comforting.
God bless you both! (Chuck, too!)
Sincerely, (and with much heartfelt love)
Mrs. D. S.
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