October 14, 2013
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
Listen – He Speaks Ever So Softly
Many years ago it was long past time for my annual physical, in fact, I was enjoying such good health and vitality that it had been three years since I had visited my doctor. However, at the conclusion of a thorough exam, the report was quite disconcerting. (Before I proceed, let me encourage all of my readers, if at all possible to go for that annual “check-up.”)
“We will have to do some tests,” the doctor explained, “then, in a couple of weeks, we will know where we stand.”
Immediately, my mind was filled with different thoughts. “Can this be me who is experiencing this questionable report? No! My doctor is wrong! What if she is not?” By the time I got home and shared the news with Jack I found myself asking God, “What’s this all about?”
In compliance with the doctor, I took the medical tests and began the long wait for the results. All the while, we were praying and seeking the Lord for His divine purpose and will to be accomplished in my life.
By the end of the two weeks, we found ourselves rejoicing in the faithfulness of God. I knew He had everything under control. Deep in my heart, I knew it would be all right. “But Lord,” I asked, “what is the purpose behind this trial?”
Then – the night before we received the results of my tests – Jack looked over at me and said, “I have peace in this matter, so tonight let’s go out and celebrate this victory in our lives!”
We went to a lovely restaurant that is meant for celebrating and fine dining. A nice, handsome pianist softly played the piano in the corner of the dining room, and candles softly lit each of the tables. Jack and I laughed, enjoyed our luscious dinner and shared in a wonderful conversation about the Lord. It was an evening I’ll never forget.
As we prepared to leave, I expressed to my husband how much I wanted to go and thank the pianist for sharing his special talent with us. Being musicians ourselves we were impressed with his tremendous ability to “tickle the ivories.”
“You have a beautiful touch on the keyboard,” I told him.
“Thank you,” he answered. “I am sorry if you saw me staring at you and your husband.” He explained: “For a year, my fiancée and I watched your television program faithfully. She used your ministry to help lead me to the Lord, and then . . . she died. She was only 38 years old and I have been bitter toward the Lord and unable to pray ever since.”
I reached out and took his hand from the keyboard and stated: “God doesn’t want you to be bitter and neither does she. Your fiancée is in a better place right now and you will be with her again – perhaps soon. The best thing you could do right now is to get your heart right with the Lord, so that when He comes again, you can go and be at her side.”
Jack, who has always been sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit, began to explain to this young man the Scriptures and how it is appointed unto men once to die (Hebrews 9:27). Then he added, “Your sweetheart is in heaven and awaits your homecoming. Be ready, Brian!”
Jack and I were so blessed as we watched the Lord begin to move in his heart. Right at the piano, with tears streaming down his face he recommitted his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He looked up at both of us and said, “I can hardly wait to call my fiancée’s twin sister to tell her what has happened tonight.” We had a word of prayer and promised to send him our video about heaven.
The next morning, I heard from my doctor. My tests showed that I was just fine. The doctor said, “You and Jack go out and celebrate, Rexella.” She did not know that we had already claimed the good report and the special blessing we had found in doing so. Of course, we continue to rejoice and thank the Lord for the results of the test, but we realize that if for no other reason we had gone through this trial, Jack and I could be at the restaurant that night to speak to the young pianist.
Gods ways are so much greater than ours. This was probably the Lord’s plan all along! How important it is for you and me as Christians today to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey His leading in our lives! The things and events that surround us are real and at times they can be overwhelming, and we are unable to recognize Jesus and the guidance of His Spirit. Let the circumstances be what they may. Always maintain complete reliance upon Him and listen to the often quiet voice of His Spirit as He leads you into victory and blessings yet to come. Be totally unrestraining, be willing to risk everything. We do not know when His voice will come again, so be ever-aware and obey.
I realized, there are three very important lessons in regard to listening to the Holy Spirit that we can learn from this personal experience with the young man.
1. We must listen when the Holy Spirit is leading us.
I Thessalonians 5:19, says: Quench not the Spirit. That means, when the Holy Spirit is leading you, you must listen to His voice. The little promptings and opportunities that God passes along your way mean you must be faithful. Follow the Lord’s leading in these situations so that you do not quench His ministry in your life.
In Acts the 8th chapter, we read the wonderful testimony of Philip the evangelist as he was led to a desert road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza. Once there, the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this Chariot (Acts 8:29). Arriving at the chariot, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official, who was reading the book of Isaiah. However, he did not grasp what the prophet was saying, so beginning with the passage of Scripture in Isaiah, Philip led the Ethiopian eunuch to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
If Philip had not obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit in his life – and, if Philip had not preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch -this court official may never have been won to the Lord.
The same was true for Jack and me as we talked with this young pianist that night. If we had just walked out, not wanting to get involved, or if we had talked with the musician about his fine musical skills and not talked about the Lord or the Scriptures, this young man may never have received the ministry he so desperately needed.
2. When the Holy Spirit guides us, He will empower us to do His will.
A beautiful example of this dynamic thought can be found in the life of the Apostle Peter.
Previous to Peter being filled with the Holy Spirit, he was a spiritually weak man. Who can forget the night when Jesus was brought before Caiaphas the high priest, and the scribes and the elders? Peter lingered outside in the courtyard where he was confronted by a servant girl who asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter vehemently denied the Lord three times that night.
Remember, this was before the Holy Spirit filled Peter’s life.
Oh, the grace of God! Only 50 days after the denial, we read the wonderful account in Acts, chapter 2, of Peter’s boldness on the Day of Pentecost. This was the event Jesus prophesied before he ascended: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).
After Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he stood up before the crowd that day – unashamed and unafraid – proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Three thousand souls were won to the Lord!
Soon after this, Peter and John were brought before the Sadducees who commanded that Peter and John no longer teach in the name of Jesus (see Acts 4:13). But Peter would not be intimidated. He said (along with the Apostle John), Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19,20).
Scripture also records: With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33).
What made this difference in the life of the Apostle Peter? It was the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Previous to being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was so weak, in and of himself, he denied Christ in front of a damsel. After the infilling of the Holy Spirit, Peter became bold in faith and proclaimed the Gospel in the face of beatings and eventually, martyrdom (he was crucified upside down).
3. When the Holy Spirit leads and empowers us for the sake of the Gospel, and we faithfully obey His promptings – not quenching the Holy Spirit . . . then blessing comes!
That evening, after Jack and I shared in this precious conversation with our young pianist, we walked away rejoicing. We were happy about the wonderful things God did in that man’s life – and in ours – by bringing us all together for this special moment of ministry. We felt truly blessed! Winning souls and witnessing for Christ always produces joy.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy (I Thessalonians 2:19, 20).
Jack and I have often found that in attempting to bless others, we are also blessed. As we attempt to reach out and water the lives of others with Scripture, we are watered ourselves. As we comfort others, our own comfort is increased. We find consolation and gladness in our own lives as we give to others.
Jesus said, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38).
Proverbs says it this way: The liberal souls shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself (Proverbs 11:25).
We must remember: Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it (Mark 8:35). True life is found as you give yours away in service to others.
In closing, I am reminded of the Dead Sea, located between Israel and the Jordan, whose water content is so salty that very little is able to exist within its waters.
The intrinsic problem of the Dead Sea results from the fact that it has several inlets that flow into it – the Jordan river is one of them – but has no outlets to share its waters with other bodies. In other words: All receiving and no giving results in a body of water that has no life.
As followers of the Lord, we must never become like the Dead Sea – where all we do is sit, soak and sour! We must get rid of the desire to be a part of the “bless-me-club,” and become a member of the “blessing club.” The way to receive a blessing … is to be a blessing.
We must become an effervescent witness for Christ having a wellspring of living water flowing out of our hearts and into the lives of others. That well-spring of life that Jesus has given to each of us as believers is His precious Holy Spirit (see John 4:14 and John 7:37-39).
Let us determine that we shall always listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit inside us …even if it means encouraging and witnessing to a pianist in the middle of a restaurant!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Rexella and Jack,
Praise GOD for you both faithful servants of our MOST HIGH GOD! I look forward to your weekly TV broadcasts. Rexella you always look lovely! Keep up the good work that the LORD has called you to do. Love and prayers for you both.
Yours In CHRIST,
Dublin, Republic of Ireland
God bless you and keep you. I want to say how wonderful it is that Dr. Jack and Dr. Rexella have been true stewards and standard-bearers of the Word throughout these years. Having known Jesus since January 1980 I have time and again returned to your program and/or newsletters knowing that Truth is proclaimed here!
Thank you for never wavering in your course.
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