The Terror of the Great Tribulation (Mark 13:19-23)

Monday, November 17th, 2014

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The Terror of the Great Tribulation

The coming Great Tribulation, the second half—

from the gospel of Mark 13:19 to 23

 

Bad times are inevitably followed by good times. When you get the flu and finally recover, most of us are overwhelmingly thankful for the return to good health. And that will be especially true with the 7-year Tribulation. What follows that worldwide, killer pandemic of God’s wrath is an amazing season of blessing called the Millennium. We’re trusting the rapture begins the Tribulation–then the Second Coming of Christ that ends those seven years of flu and ushers in this great Old Testament promise, one thousand years of blessing on Earth, as Christ literally rules this planet.

What will the Millennium be like? Spiritually, it’ll be awesome. The risen, glorified Jesus Christ will be physically present. Satan, our great enemy will be bound and I believe his army removed. Christ will rule the entire world with righteousness. Those of you struggling with our leaders today, read Isaiah 11:4, “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.”

Isaiah 32:1, “Behold, a king will reign righteously and princes will rule justly.” When the Millennium begins, only believers, the sheep, regular saved people like you and me, Jews and Gentiles will begin the thousand years. All the unsaved goats will be cast into Hades awaiting final judgment. Glorified saints will rule with Christ, representing Him around the planet.

Revelation 20:4, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”

As a result, righteousness will saturate the earth, resulting in true peace, overwhelming joy, a deep knowledge of the Lord, and a fullness of the Holy Spirit as we enjoy a deep, genuine worship of the Lord Jesus, centered in a magnificent New Temple in Jerusalem. Physically, the earth will be significantly changed. The curse placed on creation at the fall of Adam will be lifted. Creation will no longer groan under sin, and peace will actually come to the animal kingdom. Instead of violence and death, animals will again be plant eaters as they were in the Garden, and they will actually get along with each other.

Isaiah 11:6 and 7, “The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.” Add to that, much of the world is currently unproductive, but in the Millennium, even the deserts will bloom with life. Isaiah 35:1,2,7 “The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom… 2 It will blossom profusely…7 The scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground, springs of water.”

Not only will the land be restored to an Eden-like flavor, but Christ will remove sickness, disease and deformity from the planet–Isaiah 33:24, no resident will say, “I am sick,” and 35:5, “the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped,” and 35:6, “the lame will leap like a deer.”

And regular people will once again live long lives like they did before the flood, so that if even a child dies at the age of one hundred, they will be thought of as being cut off prematurely. Isaiah 65:20, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.”

Wow, so regular believers live a long time, and glorified saints–those who were redeemed, died, received their glorified bodies will now rule with Christ around the world in a perfect environment. It’s going to be a prosperous time, a peaceful time, a joyful time and a time of well-being for all–regular believer and glorified saint. But before we get there, before this time of great blessing begins, before the joy of perfect wellness and a Garden of Eden Earth, there is the flu of God’s great judgment. God’s justice for rebellion will be expressed, God’s anger for sin will be shown, God’s hatred for perversion will be manifest. God’s wrath against a rebellious human race is now poured out in the Tribulation.

Open your Bibles to Mark 13:19 to 23 as we continue our verse by verse study of the first to be written gospel. Jesus just told His men the Temple will be completely destroyed, which is a type or illustration of the coming Tribulation, where this world will be completely destroyed. The disciples ask in verse 4, “When is it coming, and how will we know it has come?” Jesus gives them signs to watch for–birthpangs which will occur in our day, but increase and intensify during the Tribulation, like religious deception (verses 5 to 6), the dissension of war (verses 7 to 8a), natural disasters (verse 8b), and persecution distress (verses 9 to 13).

Then in verses 14 to 18, the Lord alerted his future followers to watch for the Abomination of Desolation, when the Antichrist sets himself up to be God, and His religion as the only one allowed. God’s true children, especially those living in Israel, need to flee and hide themselves until the end of the Tribulation. So now today, our Lord describes the second half of the Tribulation–the last 3½ years of God’s wrath intensifying on Earth. Why should God’s people hide? Why must they flee? Just how bad will the Tribulation be? Let’s find out . . .

#1  The Tribulation’s Incomparable HORROR toward ALL

Jesus makes it really clear in verse 19 that the Tribulation is in the future, and not in AD 70. Look what He says in verse 19. “For those days will be a time of Tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.” This will be the greatest horror that has ever occurred. This will be the biggest trial, the worst suffering, the most devastating disaster, and the harshest moment on planet Earth.

It is going to last seven long years, and will be characterized by ever increasing pressure, resulting in human anguish. It’ll grow worse and worse and worse until life is unsustainable. There’ll be nowhere for you to go to escape disaster or death. There will be nowhere to run for safety.

Look at verse 19, “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation.” The Greek verbs are defining one long tribulation. They describe an ongoing time of extreme pressure, caused by outward circumstances which come from God. The source is not mankind or the environment–though they may contribute, the ultimate source will be from God, and it will be obvious. No one will be guessing—“Did we do this, or did God?” No, this will clearly be God’s wrath.

Revelation 6:15 and 16, “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’” People know. We’re not talking about waking up and feeling sore. This is not describing a really bad day. This has nothing to do with a salary cut, a car that won’t start, or a doctor discovering your brain tumor or that you have cancer.

During the Tribulation, earthquakes will destroy all you treasure, there will be decreasing light, no fresh water, no food to buy. Your unsaved friends and neighbors will either hunt you down or turn you into the authorities, and they’ll burn your house down if you trust and follow Jesus Christ. There will be nothing to compare it in history–WW1, WW2, Viet Nam, Korea, the Gulf, the Killing Fields, the Holocaust, Idi Amin’s reign of terror are nothing compared to the Tribulation.

Jesus says in verse 19, “Such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created.” This time will be so fierce it is literally called in Revelation 7:14, “the tribulation, the great one.” The last 3½ years is the Great Tribulation.

In verse 19, the Greek verb, has not occurred, from “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation,” is in the perfect tense.  That tells us that the unparalleled intensity of the Tribulation period is an abiding fact, meaning this–as the Tribulation unfolds, with war, famine, death, disease, persecution, no food, no water, no safety, that all those trials will occur, and their effects will not cease nor lessen. The difficulty doesn’t soften, there’re no good days, there are no breaks, no relief, no hope of stopping–there is no place to hide. The Tribulation is relentless.

Honestly, I think the Tribulation should roll into our conversations. “If you don’t clean up your room, this weekend is Tribulation for you. You think it’s tough now? Just wait till your Father gets in Trib mode.” Or “those phone salesmen are in Tribbing out,” meaning they’re relentless. Verse 19, “Since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.” Never will is emphatic—emphasized to convince all of us there’ll never be another like it.

AD 70 was a horrible siege on Jerusalem, but the Tribulation is an ongoing, increasingly harsh, worldwide torment. This will be the worst moment of planet Earth. This will be the most horrible time to be alive. This will be the most devastating event in human history. The Great Tribulation and the wickedness of the Antichrist against believers will be so severe, the Tribulation is without parallel or comparison in history.

Verse 19 is almost identical to Daniel 12:1, “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” Or Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”

Did you notice what Jesus emphasizes in verse 19? “Since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.” Jesus is saying that there has never been an event or season as bad as the Tribulation since the earth was created since the very beginning. But He is also focusing on His creation, is He not? Reminding us this world, God’s creation is cursed.

Back at the beginning when Adam and Eve chose to sin against God–as a consequence, a curse was laid upon creation. Do you remember Genesis 3:17 to 19, “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ”You shall not eat from it.” Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; 19 by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’”

You know how you get up some mornings and you groan, you feel pains, or age, the results of work, the stress of life? This world is also experiencing that same groan from sin. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:19 to 22, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

Humankind and this planet will experience the wrath of God during the Tribulation, but the curse of sin upon this planet will be coming to a close. And once Jesus Christ returns, this earth will be remade. Once Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom, this planet will be redone. Many believe the entire planet will be remade back to the Garden of Eden.

The Tribulation is the worst thing that has ever happened, but there is hope of an incredible future–and thankfully our God is merciful, gracious and caring, especially toward His children, even during this awful time.

#2  God’s MERCY will be Shown toward the Tribulation’s ELECT

Even though God pours out His wrath against this planet and against a fallen, disobedient, and rebellious human race, He still shows mercy to His chosen children in verse 20. God does something incredible–He mutilates or amputates the length of each day in this last 3½ years. This is what the Lord means in verse 20, when He says shortened it–read it.

Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” Shortened means “mutilated” or “amputated” days–what is an amputated or shortened day? For certain, Jesus is describing the determination of God to cut short or limit the period of time to only 3½ years. The Bible clearly and specifically says the Great Tribulation–the period after the Abomination of Desolation in the middle of the 7-year period will last only 3½ years. Look!

Daniel 7:25, “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time [3½ years].” Revelation 11:2, “They will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months [3½ years].”

Revelation 12:6, “The woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days [3½ years].” Revelation 13:5, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him [3½ years].”

And do not lose sight as to who is shortening the days–verse 20 says it’s the Lord. “Unless the Lord had shortened those days.” Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is in sovereign control of the affairs of this world, will graciously decree a limitation on the Tribulation.

There is a strong possibility that “shortened those days” means more than limiting it to 3½ years. There is the possibility that shortened (koloboo) means to reduce in duration, as it is used also to describe being amputated, or mutilated, which may mean Jesus is saying that He will not allow those horrible days to go full length. He may be saying God has ordained that those days will be reduced in duration. Really? Let the Bible speak for itself.

The Greek word “those days” doesn’t mean “except that day”. If the original language did say that, then Jesus would be describing the entire period as a day of judgment. The Bible does use that singular usage, except that day, a lot in describing the Day of Judgment, that time of punishment. But it doesn’t say that day–the text says, “those days.” And if you interpret it as it is, Jesus is referring to those 24-hour days. So the Lord is saying, except those 24-hour days should be shortened or reduced in duration, everyone would die.

What Jesus might mean here is this–when the Abomination of Desolation occurs, and Jews and new believers start running for their lives, trying to get away from the holocaust of the Antichrist, our God supernaturally, by His mercy and grace, will alter the length of daylight in order to give His followers the protection of darkness. Could this be what Revelation 6:12 implies? “He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood.”

It could mean our Lord may actually alter the heavenly bodies in order to make it really dark so believers can remain hidden. Revelation 8:12, “The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.” Revelation makes it clear that daylight is definitely reduced.

Revelation 16:10, “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain.” As the Tribulation progresses, it gets darker and darker. And why would God have “shortened the days”? Verse 20 says to save lives, since if He didn’t shorten or darken the days, then verse 20 states first, “no life would have been saved.”

The Lord has to keep them alive for the Kingdom. If those days are prolonged, the Antichrist would eventually use his GPS to find and kill them. If the Lord didn’t shorten the days, there wouldn’t be any regular believers left for the Kingdom. Jesus does this precise work of judging the ungodly, but protecting His children. (They die, okay? Life is precious.)

The Greek word saved means to be delivered–your life saved, or it means to be saved from sin, given salvation. It probably means both here. Get this–God shortens the days so that people live. He doesn’t do it so that they can live to be judged, then condemned to torment at the end of the Tribulation. No, He wants them to live in order to get saved and enter into the Kingdom after the Tribulation.

The time of the Tribulation is so fierce, if our Lord allowed the Antichrist and the false prophet to go unchecked, then verse 20 declares no life would have been saved. The wholesale persecution, slaughter, and destruction is so intense during the Tribulation, no life would survive. The Greek words no life, from “no life would have been saved,” is literally no flesh, reminding us that human life is frail and infirmed. So God has decreed a shortness to this time period, not only to prevent the destruction of the human race, but more importantly to preserve His chosen children.

Why does Jesus alter the heavens in some manner?  Verse 20b, “But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” The days of the Great Tribulation are reduced in duration in some manner for believers–God acts on behalf of the elect. But who are the elect here? True believers in the Great Tribulation–the elect are certainly the Revelation 7:9, “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.”

Are the elect here Jews or Gentiles? Answer–YES! The elect must include the believing Jewish remnant–for certain the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, and those of their countrymen whom God has chosen to respond to the Gospel. Why does God show mercy and shorten the days? For Israel. Daniel 12:1b, “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”

Isaiah 45:4, “For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me. And God shows mercy and shortens days for Gentiles. Revelation 17:14, “The Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

The elect here in Mark 13 are both Jew and Gentile. God alters the heavens to benefit His chosen people. Verse 20b, “but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” During the Great Tribulation, God acts on behalf of His elect, “the elect, whom He chose.” I love the fact that the Greek uses the middle voice on the verb “He chose”, meaning God chose them for Himself. God acts upon the stars, sun and moon in order to rescue those whom our Lord has chosen for Himself—wow!

Elect means to choose, picking out, selection, to call out. If you’re genuinely saved, it’s because you were elect. Election is a biblical truth. John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.” Ephesians 1:4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Election is a difficult truth, in that how can we be accountable when God does all the sovereign choosing? Isn’t that unfair? Not really.

The Bible teaches both–it’s called in theology an antinomy. God is sovereign, and each person is responsible. Jesus holds people responsible for turning to Him, like when He says in John 5:40, “You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” Yet God is the One who elects and who must elect to give salvation.

But you say, “I don’t understand”–that’s no surprise. God is infinite and you’re finite–God is limitless and you’re limited! But isn’t that unfair? In Romans 9:14 God says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.” The issue is not a matter of fairness or justice, but one of mercy. You do not want justice from God–that would mean Hell for you forever. You want mercy from God. The Scripture gives us the perspective that it is not that God passes over some in salvation. The real issue is, why does God elect or choose any of us?

Then why witness to the lost, if God has and will sovereignly elect them? Because God has not only chosen those who will be saved, but also sovereignly chosen the means by which He brings salvation to His own. And that means is you and the proclaiming of the Gospel. Don’t you love Acts 13:48, “As many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” See it? God is sovereign and appointed them, but they responsibly believed.

And how about Acts 16:14? “A woman named Lydia . . . was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” God is sovereign and opened Lydia’s heart, but she responsibly responded to the truth of the Gospel spoken by Paul. You share, God saves them. God elects you, you respond. There’s no ground for boasting on your part, since God alone saves. And there’s no fear of losing your salvation, because it is God who saved you–therefore it is God who holds you secure.

And before you freak out, understand almost every doctrine we hold dear has this same antimony, this tension in it, right? Is Jesus God, or man? YES! Was the Bible written by God, or by apostles and prophets? YES! Is God sovereign, or are you responsible? YES

But here in verse 20, it is so special–look at it again. “Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” Jesus is telling us He changes the stars in order for His elect to get saved and to be preserved till the end of the Tribulation, so that they can live to enter His glorious Kingdom. That’s what Jesus is prepared to do for His elect.

God called us out of all of humanity, He chose us, elected us, and made us His own. And when God chooses someone for Himself, He will keep that person for Himself, and He will fulfill His promise, even if He has to restructure the entire universe to do so. To Christ, you are more important than the entire universe! The Lord literally reorganized the entire body of the universe to protect His own. He will change the stars, sun, moon and earth’s rotation, if it means keeping His own.

Do not fear persecution, do not fear the future. You only honor Christ when you respond to the truth of His Word, and instead of fear, feel safe, love and secure in your Father’s arms. For the elect’s sake, God changes everything and squashes daylight down into a small time period and eventually blots it out, so His children can be safe until verse 26, when Jesus Christ the King returns!

Don’t ever forget, you don’t deserve mercy–neither do I. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. You deserve the Tribulation, you deserve Hell forever, and all that comes with it–torment, torture and unending pain. If you say no, you don’t, then you do not understand how holy, righteous and pure God is. Nor do you understand just how awful, rebellious, sickening, and putrid our sin is. And out of love for His chosen, Christ now warns them of . . .

#3  The Tribulation’s DECEPTION Directed at God’s ELECT

Uniquely, during this part of the Tribulation, there is going to be a very focused and cunning deception aimed at God’s people who are in hiding.

First  The Deception of False CHRISTS

Verse 21, “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him.” While the wrath of God is flooding the earth and His elect are hiding, there will be cunning and hateful people trying to lure them out into the open by saying, “Look, here is the Christ,” then, “Gotcha!”

How do we know that is what is being described here? Look again at verse 21, “And then if anyone says to you,” the “then” links this warning with the previous scene of extreme suffering just depicted. Then Jesus adds, “if anyone,” whosoever it may be, warning it could be anyone, even those you trust. Then verse 21 uses “says to you,” reminding future readers that these tempting messages are directly aimed at believers in Christ.

And they will not be boring, standard alerts, but filled with excitement, emotion and convincing zeal. Do you see it in verse 21? “’Behold [or look], here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold [look], He is there.’” The “behold” or “lo” underlines the excitement with which these professed revelations are made during the Tribulation, playing on the hopes of every true believer–they want Christ to come.

Satan will cause false christs to appear, in an attempt to deceive the elect into leaving their places of refuge. False teachers will claim Christ is in their midst, or they are coming soon, back in Jerusalem, or somewhere close by. Of course if they buy in, they literally have bought it. If they’re deceived, they die. So Christ warns them in advance. Jesus pointedly says, verse 21, “Do not believe him.” Jesus commands future believers to not trust them.

Continue to reject all such claims about a hidden Messiah, because, Matthew’s gospel account points out, when the Messiah comes, Matthew 24:23, “do not believe him. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance.  26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Christ’s coming will be unmistakable–like lightning, which will not be subtle, nor in the wilderness or in some secret room. Jesus says, have an unbelieving attitude to all such claims. Get this, friends–“Incredulity is sometimes a Christian duty.” Christ tells the elect refugees of the future all they need to know to avoid being misled by Satan’s emissaries. This is the perfect time for false prophets, because everyone is going to be desperate for an explanation of why all the Tribulation is happening. Why is this happening? What are we going to do? Where do we go to be safe?

Their answers will be lies. But their answers will be sneaky, and quite frankly, they will be impressive. Their false answers will be convincing. All the signs and wonders craziness going on today is in preparation for the Antichrist to come–and friends, we’re ready.

Second  The Deception of False SIGNS AND WONDERS

Verse 22, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” Jesus says there will be satanically inspired pseudo-miracles employed to support their claims to be the true Christ. Second Thessalonians 2:9 says the same thing, that is, “The one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.”

False christs are here, and more are coming during the Tribulation. In verse 22, Jesus says it’s a fact, they’ll pop up everywhere. Notice the plural, christs and prophets–there will be many. And they will claim to be Messiah, or a prophet of the Messiah who’ll deliver them from the Antichrist and the false religion of the Tribulation. They will declare they’re from God or speak for God.

And what will make it tempting to believe is verse 22, they will show signs and wonders, meaning miracles. Signs denotes actions which point to something outside and beyond themselves–they are indicators to a higher reality. Wonders describes the astonishment which these signs produce–they are startling, sensational, amazement-evoking signals. Whether phony or real, these deceivers will not hesitate to use them in order to deceive–that’s their singular goal then and today, which will greatly increase the danger. It’ll be very deceptive.

My beloved church family–Jesus loves you so much, and He loves those believers in the coming Tribulation so much that He wants you and them to develop convictions. Follow God’s Word over your emotions. Follow God’s Word over your experiences. That’s what Jesus is saying here. “Do not follow what you see,” Jesus says—“follow what I say. Don’t let the wonders lead you, let my Word lead you.” Jesus says, “I’m telling you now, obey what I say in Scripture over obeying signs you may see.”

Like Peter, who experienced the incredible Transfiguration–it was a wonder, a sign, a miracle, and it was true, genuine, real. But what does Peter say about that true experience? Second Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure [certain], to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” There will be wonders and signs during the Tribulation, and like today, we must not believe them.

Revelation 13 tells us fire comes down from Heaven, and the Antichrist will be killed and brought back to life. In Revelation 16, demons perform signs to world leaders to lure them out to war. What is the result of all this miraculous wonder? Verse 22 says, “In order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” This is the diabolical aim of the enemy–so filled with hate, he wants to draw the elect out of hiding to kill them. He wants to lead them astray, but especially to murder them.

Thankfully, Jesus says in verse 22, “if possible,” which implies they’ll not succeed. These days will be so filled with war, famine, pestilence, deception, dissension, devastation and tribulation, that if possible the “elect could be led astray.” Get this–you flee false teachers, flee deceivers, don’t believe them. That’s our side. But God is the one who elects and keeps you, protects you–that’s God’s side.

The elect can never be led astray–it’s impossible. We’re kept by God. The enemy will not succeed. Satan will never be able to separate the Lord’s sheep from His fold. Jesus said in John 10:27 to 28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” Jude 1, “To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.”

God’s sheep do not follow strangers. John 10:5, “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Verse 27 again, Jesus says it can’t happen, no matter what they do. But regardless, the Lord seeks to warn His future coming believers.

#4  God’s Advance PREPARATION for the Tribulation’s ELECT

Verse 23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.” And for the third time in this passage, Jesus commands His followers now, and those in the Tribulation a prophetic warning to be on guard–watch out, keep your eyes open, this is coming! Regardless of what others may say or do, do not buy the lies. In verse 5, verse 9 and now verse 23 Jesus says be on guard. Stay alert to danger. Be watchful. Don’t get sucked in.

Who do we trust? Verse 23, “I have told you everything in advance.” Everything means all things necessary to keep you from being misled. I’ve told you all you need to know. Don’t be alarmed, don’t be frightened, and don’t panic. Jesus said it, Mark recorded it, and now Christ’s warning is sitting on your lap for you to read, study, and use as a lens to see. Trust your Bible, God’s Word, the Scriptures. Will you?

Also, will you watch for the true sign from Heaven? What sign? Mark 13:24 to 26 makes it obvious who Christ is. “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” This is obvious. Jesus is coming, and He is coming back–next Sunday, but only if you’re here! But for today?

A  The ELECT are in a SECURE place with Christ

Jesus says through Paul in Romans 8:38 to 39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Those who are born again, those who’re indwelt with the Holy Spirit, those who follow Christ, those who want to obey and do, those who hate their own sin, those who repent and still do and those who have faith in Christ and still do–those whom Christ has saved remain saved and will be saved to the end, no matter what. If the horrors of the Tribulation and the deception of that time can’t cause a Christian to lose their salvation, nothing can. You’re in a secure place if you are in Christ, and Christ is in you.

B  The elect SEE clearly, while the lost remain BLIND

Before you came to Christ, the Bible says you were blind. Second Corinthians 4:4, “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” But now that you are in Christ, you can see. The lens you look through is God’s Word.

The crucial question is, how sharp is your lens? Is it sharp, clear, and focused, or is it warped, fuzzy, and smeared with sin? Is it a toy, plastic lens of the young, or a mature, sharp, glass lens of the mature? Are you learning the Word? Do you study the Word? Do you daily read the Word? We have RMG’s, classes, Men and Women of the Word. The way you prevent deception is to learn the Word of God and live by it.

C  It will be DARKEST before the DAWN of Christ

The closer we get to the Tribulation, the more deception and attacks there will be. The only way to be ready is to give your life to Christ–exchange all that you are for all that He is. Trust Him alone for your life now and protection later. Believe He died for your sins and rose from the dead and lives. Are you in Christ? Cry out for mercy today. Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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