What's going to happen in the world from now? Is World War Three imminent, is it being started? What is going to happen? Catastrophic events are prophesied from here on. They're going to affect you. Now, we've been going through an outline of prophecy and in the book of Revelation you'll find all of the prophesies of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation coordinated as to time sequence.
We found that the main prophecy begins in the sixth chapter (Revelation) and there when Jesus is opening the seals, He is the revelator, and still what is revealed to us is merely symbol. And so, we still can't understand, but Jesus is the revelator. He is the one who reveals and who can make us understand. And so, just as Jesus Christ did reveal the meaning of parables in plain language to His disciples, so we find that He does reveal in plain language, the meaning of these symbols. And we found the key in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew.
Now, there were the four horsemen and first, there was the white horse that was the false preachers and false Christ's, those saying that Jesus is the Christ, preaching Christ, and yet deceiving the many. Then were to come wars, and all of these things – once they start, were to continue progressively on to the second coming of Christ. The false preaching started even in the days of the Apostles. The mystery of iniquity (2 Thess. 2:7) did already work as the apostle Paul said in his day, but it is continued and we find that the false preaching is to be intensified in these last days as it is mentioned in verse eleven, (Matt 24:11) many false prophets shall arise [getting into the latter time now] And in verse twenty-four again, There shall arise false Christ's and false prophets [both false Christ's and false prophets] that shall show great signs and great wonders.
But back here, Jesus said, "Take heed that no man deceives you. Many shall come in my name, saying, that I am Christ." Now, there is to be both false Christ's and false prophets. Then after that, were to come to world war. Wars were not the end, they were to continue progressively, but at the end of time were coming to war of nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom in world war. Now, we've already had the two world wars, and it's coming as a series, in different rounds. We're in the rest period between world war two and world war three now, and everyone knows that world war three is coming. Next are to come the famines and the pestilences; we've been going into that. That is the next thing now to happen, and then:
The Great Tribulation, but just before the Great Tribulation, is going to be a flight of the people of God that are watching and praying always. In the book of Revelation in the second and the third chapters, you find the prophesies of the church of the God; the church that Jesus built! It was composed of human people, and they were human, they weren't perfect. And so, in nearly ever case, Jesus starts out as He did to the church of Ephesus, which was the apostolic church, He said: I know thy works, and thy labor and thy patience, He knew all of the good things about them, but then a little later in verse four, He says, in Revelation 2 this is and then verse four, "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." It wasn't perfect. And then again, the church of Smyrna, I know thy works and so on, the church at Pergamos, I know thy works; all the good things about them but verse fourteen, "but I have a few things against thee, and so it went, in all of them.
Now we come down to the end of it, picturing the church as it is in our time and we have three of these churches that carry on and live until the end.
(5) SARDIS ERA
The first of those three, the Sardis church. That is the church that had the name that it was alive and the Church of God, they had the name The Church of God and yet it said 'Thou art dead'. And of course speaking spiritually, it was dead spiritually. Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain and are ready to die, for I have not found thy works perfect before God. That is at the very beginning of the Sardis church, the good things aren't said there because this is a puny, weak insignificant church that is spiritually dead.
And Jesus said, repent or I'll come on you as the thief and you shall not know at what hour I shall come. When you read that my friends, that language ties in with what you will find, let me see, the seventeenth chapter of Luke and the twenty-fourth of Matthew and other places showing very well and very perfectly that it is referring to the second coming of Christ. So, there will be, the latter generation of that church (Sardis) in existence at the time of the second coming of Christ."
(6) PHILADELPHIA ERA
"Now next however came the Philadelphia Church which does carry the mission of God to the world. Here's a church from a physical point of view and physical power and strength is the weakest of all them. It's the smallest. They have only a very little strength, the church at Philadelphia. So, He says, these things saith he that is holy [that is Christ] and he that is true, and he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works. [Now here was a church again that He could complimented on their works.] I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: [Now if you'll check through your Bible in how God opens a door, He opens a door for the Apostle Paul to go to Europe and preach the Gospel. It is an open door, opening up the door to facilities, to methods, to opportunities to carry the Gospel. Here is the church that carries the Gospel of the Kingdom.., that had been hidden from the world. That carries it to the world.
For He says that thy hast a little strength. Yes, they have some strength but it's little. They're small, from a physical or human point of view, and have kept my word, there faithful and they keep his word and they obey God. And has not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, [It's speaking spiritually, He is a Jew, said the Apostle Paul, who is one inwardly, and salvation is to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. So, it's merely referring to those that say, they are Christians. When you get the real meaning of it.] And, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
"Now listen to this: (Rev 3:10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of trial, [the word in the KJV is temptation but your margin will say trial, and it's the time of Great Tribulation. I will keep you then from this time of The Great Tribulation] which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."
(Rev 3:11) Behold, I come quickly: [There again, it is a church that is right near the end of this age and the second coming of Christ and it is existing and doing its work before the coming of Christ.] He says, behold, I come quickly: hold fast to that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. He that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem. [That for the church, called the one of Philadelphia].
(7) LAODICEA ERA
"Now here comes the last one of all. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." [That doesn't mean he was the first thing that God created or the first person. But it means that God created everything by and through Him if you get the words of the Bible. That He was the beginning of the creation because He did begin it and it was begun through Him.]
"Now, of this church, God says 'I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:' [Here's the lukewarm church 'I would thou wert cold or hot.' Now here are people that know the truth. Here are people that think that they have everything spiritually that they could want.] 'So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.' Says Jesus Christ. 'Because thou sayest,' [This is what the people of this church thinks.] Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, [in other words spiritually rich, we have knowledge that the people have not had before.]"
"You know, at the end time, knowledge is to increase. And the wise are to understand but none of the wicked will understand. If these people were not people that were obedient to God, and that have repented of sin which is the transgression of God's laws, of God's rule, God's sovereignty, they would not be His church!"
These are commandment keeping people or they wouldn't be called the church of God in the first place. But, these are the lukewarm commandment keepers, these are the people that have known the truth, they are the people that realize that knowledge is being revealed today that was not known by the Apostles, and just as Jesus said to them when they were just disciples, students or learners, He said, "many of the prophets of old have desired to know," to have knowledge of the things that I am revealing to you, the things you can know now and they could not know them, they were hid from them. Now, technological and scientific, mechanical knowledge is being increased today but also, so is spiritual knowledge."
And then in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, the angel said this: Many shall be purified and made white and tried. It's a time of trial. Yes, and with the 'Great Tribulation' coming we are certainly in that time. But, the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand. What's your Bible definition of wickedness: Sin, the transgression of the law of God! But it said here, but the wise shall understand. Now, what is the Bible definition of the wise? (Ps 111:10) — "The fear of the (ETERNAL) is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all they that do His commandments."
So, it is only those that keep the commandments of God that could have this knowledge. Now here are people that have this knowledge, here are people that know things that the apostles couldn't know, here are people that look down on the other people in the world, they look down on even popular churches shall we say, that don't have all of the knowledge, that they think they have.., and they say that we're better than they are. And we're spiritually rich and increased with goods, speaking of spiritual goods, in other words knowledge. Understanding, we have the knowledge. We are very important because we have these things. And in their own conceits, they have grown spiritually lukewarm. They are not exactly cold. But neither are they very hot! They are losing out on zeal. They are not really doing the work of God at all.
Because thou sayest I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, which is always the symbol of the righteousness of saints, the righteousness of God, which is the righteousness that God gives to us through and by His love. His Holy Spirit, the love of God spread abroad in our heart by His Holy Spirit; the very love that does and will fulfill His law. "White raiment, 'that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear,' nakedness is always the symbol of sin, or rebellion against God. Now here are people who have the knowledge of the commandment of God, and still they are not obedient. They are careless. 'And anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.' So they don't see as well as they think they do. 'As many as I love,' God says, 'I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.' Now He loves this Church. THEY'RE HIS CHURCH! But they are succumbing to this temptation to just become lukewarm, just to let down.'
Behold, I stand at the door, says Jesus Christ, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, [and He is saying that to this church, at the last end. Now, my friends, there is the church that will not be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are coming to pass. There's the church that is lukewarm, there is the church that is not continually having its whole mind and heart in the things of God.] In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, which is Luke's version of this same prophecy of Jesus that we have been following in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, he said here many things are going to happen, these being the days of vengeance when all things written shall be fulfilled, coming to our time now, and the time ahead when Jerusalem shall be surrounded by armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh, then is going to come a time of flight, and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, speaking of our people and our nation here, literally; "shall be led away captive into all nation and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Then after that will come the heavenly signs, and the sun, the moon and the stars, and upon the earth, distress of nation with perplexity, the seas and waves roaring. Now, that's right after the Great Tribulation. Now, in concluding this prophecy, Jesus said, as you find recorded in verse thirty-six:
(Luke 21:36) "Watch ye therefore, and pray always," In other word, don't be lukewarm, but you better be really hot, spiritually and in your zeal for THE THINGS FOR GOD AND THE WORK OF GOD "that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
"Now this church that I just read to you about, the one that has little power but has kept the faith, and for whom God opens the door and which does go through the door and does do the work of God with their little strength, but in the very great power of God. 'To them', He says, 'because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation,' or 'Great Tribulation,' is the correct translation of that, the meaning of the Greek words, 'which shall come upon all the world.' So, my friends, there are the portion of God's people, the part of the church that shall escape."
"Now you also find a part of them in the sixth part of Revelation that are to be martyred. They will not escape and they will not be accounted worthy to escape and be taken to a place of safety and 'The Great Tribulation' will be on them! And, for the very elect's sake, because many of them will begin to repent, those days shall be shorten or otherwise, no flesh shall be saved alive on earth."
THE GREAT TRIBULATION.
Now, we really come down now to the time of the Great Tribulation. And, you know, if I were to go into this thoroughly, we would be, I think, a whole year in giving you the difference between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord and the things concerning it. Why is it my friends, almost no one understands about it? You hear everybody almost knows anything about the Bible, that proclaims or teaches anything about the Bible, speaks of the Great Tribulation. Why just a few of us then understand it?
You know, nearly everybody takes it for granted that the Great Tribulation is the Day of the Lord. In other words, that the Great Tribulation is the time when God is going to punish the world for its evil and its iniquity, and when God is going to send great plagues down on the earth. And so, some have invented this rapture theory! They say that the church, meaning all that just profess Christ, but who aren't having any works of any kind because they're forbidden to have that. And they are being told you must not have any works. But Jesus back here was saying to these churches, "I know thy works" all the way through. And it is he that overcomes, as Jesus said, and keepth my works, he that overcometh, verse 26, of chapter two, in revelation,
(Rev 2: 26-29) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works (NT: 2041) unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; [Those are the ones, we have to keep His works.]
While most of them think that just the whole professing body of people that profess the name of Christ are going to be caught up in the air in a secret rapture. And that Christ is coming here to the earth here secretly, there won't be any noise, there won't be any shout, there won't be the voice of the archangel, there won't be any trump of God, there isn't going to be anything like that, so they believe.
Now is that the time when the dead in Christ rise with them or not? Because, at the time the dead in Christ rises and the time the living in Christ are changed, and the moment of the twinkling of an eye, when this mortal puts on immortality, and when the living do no precede the dead but the dead in Christ rise first, and the living in Christ are changed and rise to meet them in the air, that, my friends, is the time when Jesus comes with a loud shout; with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, with a terrible noise! And yet, they seem to believe that is the time when Jesus will come… quietly. And He isn't going to make any noise. And He is going to snatch away His bride, as they say.
Now, they have some very clever catch phrases, that is when He is 'going to come.. for his church' and then either a year later, three and one-half years later or seven years later or a thousand years later, depending on what kind of doctrine you believe, then he is going to return again in a third coming. And that time they say 'He comes… with His saints.' My friends, you can't find a word of that sort of thing in your Bible; it just isn't there.
"Now, where they are confused in the very beginning of all this babbling and this confusion comes from confusing the Great Tribulation with the time of the plagues or the Day of the Lord! Now the Great Tribulation is the time of the wrath of Satan the Devil. Now let's read it. Let's go right through it. The Day of the Lord is the time of God's wrath, they're two different times and something divides them."
"Now, we find here in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, in verse nine, after the beginning of travail or the tribulation or time of sorrows, at the time of the famine and the great epidemic of disease, the pestilence and so on,"
(Matt 24:9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye [speaking nationally of our people] shall be hated of all nations [We already are, but we don't seem to realize it and that hatred is going to grow].
(Matt 24: 21-22) Then shall be great tribulation, [verse twenty-one, Matthew twentyfour] 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 (alive)...Now, verse twenty-nine:
(Matt 24: 29) Immediately after the Great Tribulation of those days [Now, that's after it, the tribulation is over, God is intervening for the elect's sake,] 'Except those days should be shortened, no flesh be saved (alive) but for the elect's sake,' [they're in it.]
In verse twenty-four: (Matt 24:24) — There shall arise false Christ's, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very (even the) elect.
And then again God is going to send His angels, at the time of His second coming of Christ, and He is going to gather the elect out of their graves and from the four corners of the earth to meet Christ in the air. They my friends, are the elect. And for the sake of some of those, who had grown lukewarm, and who had not been taken to a place of safety, and that taking them to a place of safety is right here on that earth and it isn't any rapture up to heaven at all.
Here we have, after that is over, immediately after the tribulation of those days, Matt 24: 29…'shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Now, do you find that right over here in the six chapter of Revelation? Of course you do. Because over here in the six chapter of the book of Revelation is the main prophecy and that is only Jesus' explanation in plain language. Now, here is the first horse, which is the false preachers and the false Christ's. And the second seal, the red horse, is war that climaxes finally in world war. The third seal, Jesus explained and interpreted for us, is the famine. And the fourth seal, the pale horse: Pestilence or disease. Now next comes the opening of the fifth seal, and here it is, see if this isn't the Great Tribulation.
(Rev 6: 9) … and I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, [They are already at this time martyred, they're not living now, they're dead. They were slain for the word of God] and for the testimony which they held: (Rev 6:10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, [Just like Abel's blood crying from the ground.] How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
They knew that vengeance or judgment is God's. They knew about the judgment on this power that is called in your seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of Revelation, 'the Great Whore,' they knew that over here you read about where her name is Babylon and in the eighteen chapter, verse four, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues." They knew that these plagues are coming on her and in the eighteen chapter of Revelation, verse eight, 'Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God which judges her. His judgments on her and when this whole thing is begun in the visions of John, in the seventeenth chapter, the angel comes, one of the angels that had one of the seven last plagues of the vials of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither; I will shew thee the judgment of the [this fallen women here], that sitteth upon many waters:
And then again in the eighteenth chapter, in the tenth verse, 'Standing afar off [the merchants of the earth and so on, and the great men] standing far off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, the great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.' That's God's judgments.
Now, these saints knew about it. It's all written ahead in prophecy. Now, here are the ones that were slain for the word of God and they know that His judgments are coming at the time of the second coming of Christ! And so, they wanted to know how long before the second coming of Christ! Just like the apostles said, tell us when shall these things be and the sign of thy coming at the end of this age? Well, now, here these people are asking the same thing. [Rev 6: 10-11] — How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; [That's the righteousness of saint again.] and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, [Now, they are already killed, and they are told to rest yet a little season, until their brethren, there are other saints, there are other Christians that shall be killed as they were] shall be fulfilled.
A martyrdom of saints. Now when this Great Tribulation comes, Jesus said, [Matt 24: 9] He said, "they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and they shall kill you:" [That's the time of Great Tribulation. Now there's the Great Tribulation, my friends, and the saints are in it.]. And that was the very next thing you see back here in Revelation six. Alright, now what is going to happen immediately after the Great Tribulation? Here comes verse twelve:
(Rev 6:12) — And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, [Here comes the next, sixth seal] and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; [Here is the signs in the sun, and the moon and in the stars.] The next verse, "the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken with a mighty wind."
Now what? What is going to happen next? (Rev 6: 14) And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Rev 6: 15-17) And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, [That's all of the mighty, and the leaders and the great men of the earth.] and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, [That includes everybody now.] hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: Where is the stage setting, what are they seeing as the heavens depart as a scroll? You find the stage settings back here in the fourth and fifth chapters, and John saw it in his vision. IT IS GOD ALMIGHTY, THE FATHER SITTING ON HIS THRONE IN HEAVEN AND JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD, AT HIS RIGHT HAND! And they're looking up and seeing that majestic, that mighty spectacle, with His face shining like the sun in full strength, His eyes as flaming fire and they said to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath [The day of the Lord, the day of the wrath of Jesus Christ, the Lord, the great day of His wrath] is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Then what is going to follow? The signs in the heavens, the sun and the moon, and the stars and then the day of God's wrath; the time of the plagues. Turn real quickly, my friends, back here to Joel: (Joel 2: 31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.