A Timeline of the Tribulation

The Return of the King  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:34
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For the last several weeks we have been covering the End Times. We have talked about prophecies that have been fulfilled, we have look at events that have been foretold by the sun, moon, and stars, and last week we covered the rapture of the church.
How many of you like to travel? You makes plans for that trip. You have an itinerary. This is something that you plan and think out and maybe discuss with your family. You want to make sure that you have a perfect family trip. You want to enjoy the journey. An itinerary helps us prepare and makes the week more meaningful when we get there.
The Bible says that one day, there will be a time that the earth will go through, a seven year period called “The Tribulation,” or a time of distress, just before the second coming of Christ.
It will be a terrible time, as God judges the people of the world. It will be a time where people will get left behind from the rapture, but there will be unbelievers that will turn to Christ and be sealed from God’s wrath in the midst of all the storm and chaos.
God has given us a timeline of what that 7 year period will look like. Today, I want to give you a look into what that time period will look like. We are going to cover the first 19 chapters of Revelation. I believe these are some of the most fascinating chapters in all of the bible.
So, if you have your bibles, go with me to the book of Revelation. Before we begin, many times you will hear people say Revelations when referring to this book. However, if you will, notice that there is no s on the end of Revelation. It was one revelation that John had. Not multiple.
Let’s begin.
According to many experts in Bible prophecy, the likely last major prophecy to be fulfilled before the beginning of the Tribulation is Ezekiel’s War—a war described in Ezekiel 28 and 39, between Israel and the nations of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, along with a few other allies.
Right now those three nations of Russia, Iran, and Turkey all have troops stationed inside the country of Syria. The Syrian government is very close to collapsing today. Should that happen, Russia, Iran and Turkey will be neighbors on Israel’s northern border.

7 Events You can Put on the Timeline of the Tribulation

Event 1 - Ezekiel’s War is Likely the Last Major Prophecy that Needs to be Fulfilled Before the Tribulation Begins

When that war breaks out, start looking up, because the Rapture is probably about to occur and the Tribulation timeline is about to begin.

Event 2 - The First Major Event of the Tribulation Will Be a Treaty with a World Ruler Who Will Later Be Identified as the Antichrist

Daniel 9:27 NIV
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
If you remember from last weeks message, the word “week,” is “seven.” A week’s worth of years is seven years. So, what Daniel is saying is, “the Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant, that he will break half way through, at the 3 1/2 year point.”
It is possible that those here on earth during the Tribulation won’t recognize the Antichrist until 3 1/2 years after this treaty is signed, because he will be smart and persuasive. He’ll appear benevolent.
Jesus said in Matthew 24...
Matthew 24:15 NIV
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—
You won’t see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, which is the temple, until “the middle of the week” which is 3 1/2 years in.

Event 3 - The Tribulation is a Seven-year Period that Ends with the Return of Jesus

Wanted us to know about this time period so he wrote us an entire book call Revelation.
The book of Revelation begins with a vision of Jesus. In Revelation 1, the Apostle John, who sat next to Jesus at the Last Supper, witnessed His empty tomb, spent time with Him after the resurrection… in Revelation 1, John see Jesus in the throne room of heaven, as the Alpha and Omega, and John says,
Revelation 1:17 NIV
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
Jesus is now so glorious that John fainted. This is the same Jesus who is revealed in the book of Revelation. Revelation describes the Tribulation, but its major purpose is to reveal Jesus to us.
Revelation 2 and 3 are letters to 7 churches of John’s day. Revelation 4 and 5 picture the throne room of God, where the multitudes of heaven are worshiping this Jesus.
In Revelation 5, God the Father holds up a scroll with seven seals on it. Seven is the number of perfection. So this is a really important scroll. An angel asks the question, “Who is worthy to open the scroll?” No one is able, because no one is worthy of such an important responsibility.
Finally, one of the worshipers points to Jesus and says--”The Lion of Judah, the Root of David, He is worthy.” Jesus comes forward, and with perfect power and perfect insight and perfect knowledge, opens it.
The book of Revelation is going to tell us very scary things. So, before the scary things happen, God reveals the power and majesty of his son, because no one needs to be afraid when the Lion of Judah is near.
The story of the Tribulation period begins in chapter 6, where the Lamb of God peels open and breaks each of its seven seals, one at a time. Each seal releases some sort of devastation on the earth.

Event 4 - During the Tribulation, God Releases Judgment Through a Series of Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, and Seven Bowls

The chronology of Revelation is hard to chart, because the seals, trumpets and bowls overlap and sometimes describe the same plagues. God’s judgment unfolds in a series of sevens, because God’s judgment is perfect.

Even 5 - Revelation Introduces Seven Characters Who Play a Part in the Drama

Character #1 - The Dragon (Satan)

The dragon is Satan. The Dragon makes war in heaven for 3 1/2 years, until he is defeated by an angel army and thrown to earth.

Character #2 - The Woman (the Church)

Look at Revelation 12:14
Revelation 12:14 NIV
14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.
“A time” is a year, “times” is two years, and “half a time” is half a year. So, at the 3 1/2 year mark, the woman begins to experience persecution and is carried on eagle’s wings of divine protection for the rest of the Tribulation.

Character 3 - The Beast of the Sea (Antichrist)

The beast has 10 crowns. He’s a ruler of many nations. The beast...
Revelation 13:2 NIV
2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
In Daniel 7, the leopard represented the Greek empire, the bear represented Persia, which is modern day Iran, and the lion represented Babylon, which is modern day Iraq.
It’s therefore likely that the beast will be from the Middle East.
In Jewish literature, things that come from the sea are from the Gentile world. The Beast, who is the Antichrist, will be a demon-possessed Gentile, and in a counterfeit imitation of Jesus, he’ll almost-die and almost-rise from the dead.
Revelation 13:5 NIV
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.
Forty-two months is 3 1/2 years - lots of things heat up at the 3 1/2 year mark.

Character 4 - The Beast from the Earth (the False Prophet)

Things that come from the earth are Jewish. During the final 3 1/2 years, this Beast, who is also called “The False Prophet,” will be Jewish, most likely the Muslim Jesus, prophesied in their scriptures, who will come and deceive many, convincing them to follow the False Messiah, the Antichrist. This False Prophet will control most of the world’s economic system through his “mark.”
Revelation 13:16–17 NIV
16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
The Dragon, and the two Beasts form the unholy trinity. But God holds true to His promise to a core group of worshipers. Our next group of characters...

Character 5 - The 144,000

Revelation 14:1 NIV
1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
Revelation 14:3–5 NIV
3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

Character 6 - The Angelic Announcers

These three angels fly overhead to announce the eternal gospel.
Revelation 14:7–10 NIV
7 He said in a loud voice, “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.” 8 A second angel followed and said, “ ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” 9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

Character 7 - The People of the Harvest

Revelation 14:16 NIV
16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke about the great harvest at the end of the age. Listen carefully.
Matthew 13:39–43 NIV
39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
The sole reason Jesus left heaven, the sole reason He laid aside His glory as the Only Begotten Son of God, the sole reason Jesus took on flesh and lived a lowly and limited human life, and the sole reason He went to the Cross was to diminish this harvest at the end of the age.
As terrible as Satan the Dragon is, and the Antichrist, and the Beast from earth, this harvest is and ever will be God’s greatest regret. If He could have saved them, He would have.
Even today, He is holding out His hand and holding out hope that each and every one of us would turn towards Him and accept His love and forgiveness, so that we can spend eternity with Him, rather than away from Him in the place where there will be perpetual weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But look at verse 43 again...
Matthew 13:43 NIV
43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Revelation starts with seven messages to seven churches. It moves to seven sealed judgments, and seven trumpet judgments, and seven characters who all play a part, and seven bowls of judgment.
Revelation is written like a play, with overlapping scenes. A seal judgment is taking place on stage right at the same time a trumpet judgment is taking place on stage left, while a bowl judgment is getting ready to take place at center stage. At the very end, they converge.
The great battle of Armageddon takes place in chapter 16, seven messages of judgment take place in chapters 17 and 18, and the return of the King takes place in chapter 19.

Event 6 - The Battle of Armageddon is Both the 6th Trumpet and the 6th Bowl Judgment.

Armageddon is the final battle at the end of time. Look at Revelation 16 for the description.
Revelation 16:12 NIV
12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.
Revelation 16:16 NIV
16 Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
Once the troops are assembled in this central valley of Israel, the seventh judgments begin, and the king returns.
The seal and trumpet and bowl judgments aren’t sequential. They overlap and come together at the end. The Bowls catch up with the Trumpets in the 6th judgment, and both of them catch up with the Seals in the 7th judgment.

Event 7 - The 7th Seal, 7th Trumpet and 7th Bowl all End with Thunder, Lightning, Earthquake, a Trumpet and the Second Coming of Christ.

Check this out...
Revelation 8:1–3 NIV
1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.
Revelation 8:5–6 NIV
5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. 6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
That’s the final seal judgment. Look at the seventh trumpet judgment:
Revelation 11:15 NIV
15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Revelation 11:19 NIV
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.
See the common elements?
The Timeline of the Tribulation ends this way.
Revelation 19:11–16 NIV
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.
Now skip down to verse 19.
Revelation 19:19–21 NIV
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
At the close of the Tribulation, we have the second coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not touch ground at the rapture. But he does at the second coming.
If you miss the rapture and you face the tribulation. There are some things you need to do.

1. Repent

The minute you miss the rapture and you find yourself facing the Tribulation, you need to repent.

2. Walk Closely with Jesus

Jesus promises to never leave you nor forsake you. If will be hard to live for God during the tribulation, but it is not impossible.

3. Encourage Others to Repent and Walk with God

All throughout the Tribulation story John is reminding us that in spite of all that is going on, we have a Savior we can rely on.
Chapter 1, Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. The one who is, and was, and is to come.
In Chapter 5, He’s the Almighty, the Only One Worthy, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, and the Lamb who was Slain.
In chapter 6, He’s the One who issues us White Robes
In Chapter 7, He’a the sealer of His People
In chapter 11, He’s the Messiah
In chapter 12, the Defender of the Brethren
In chapter 13, He’s the One who Writes our Names in the Book of Life
In Chapter 14, He’s the One whose name is written on the foreheads; He’s the son of man, seated on clouds of glory and he’s the judge of all the earth.
IN chapter 15, He’s the one we sing to, the Lord God Almighty, King of the Nations, and the One All Nations will Come and Worship.
In 16, He ‘s the One who is coming like a Thief, with lightening and rumblings and peals of thunder.
in 19, He is the lamb, who marriage feast is about to begin. He’s the rider of the white horse, He’s faithful and true, He’s the judge who makes war with justice. he’s the leader of the armies of God and He’s the One on Whom is written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The days of Tribulation will be days of great distress, unequaled in all the world until now. But over us all, and in all of us who have received Him, is the Jesus —who is so much more.
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