What You Can Expect At The Beginning Of The Tribulation Period
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After the rapture occurs, the Bible says that a restraining power will be removed. What is this restraining power? I believe it is the Holy Spirit who resides in the heart of every Christian. When true believers are taken from the earth the Holy Spirit will stop holding back the door and allow Satan to proceed with his plans. This is also when the man of sin will be revealed, better known as the Antichrist. Without the removing of the Restrainer the Antichrist could not come on the scene.
If you are a regular reader of mine you know that I do not believe that Satan knows the day he is living in. As far as he is concerned this next attempt to bring about his kingdom is just thatÖhis next attempt! I believe he has been trying for centuries to bring his Antichrist into power through different men, but has been held back by the power of the Holy Spirit (II Thessalonians 2:6-8). Soon that will all end.
When the rapture takes place, the Holy Spirit, who resides in every Christian, will leave this world. God has timed this with Satan's next attempt to bring in his kingdom.
Satan may have a person already picked out or he may just pick someone when the time comes. He may already be grooming someone for the job, but itís not because he knows the future. Satan may be preparing for what he believes is his future, but only God knows what the future really holds.
When the rapture occurs, there will be great shock around the world. Many believe that a great deception will have to follow the rapture for the world to go on, something such as an UFO abduction to explain away the millions that will suddenly disappear. But truthfully, I donít believe God cares what the world thinks nor will He try to deceive them. This event will happen, it will cause shock as 9/11 did and the world will get over it in time. How much time I donít know, but it really doesnít matter, whatever God has planned will go on as scheduled.
About the time Satan presents his unholy trinity God will rapture the church. As I said, I
believe the rapture will completely take Satan by surprise, but he will also
realize that his enemy (the Holy Spirit) is no longer opposing him. He
will finally be free to do his will...he thinks.
His first concern
will be to develop his kingdom. Although the world will initially be in
hysteria, Satan will quickly restore calm with one of his many lies.
Without the hand of God and the protecting power of the Holy Spirit the world
will be no match and will fall prey to the deceptions of Satan. This world
will quickly fall deep into apostasy and back to what they believe to be a
normal way of life.
As Satan is preparing his kingdom and making a false peace with Israel, God will also be preparing a way for those who will accept Him during this time. It is generally believed that the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-13 God's Witnesses) will come on the scene at the same time the Antichrist and the false prophet does. It will be through these two men that God will spread the Gospel.
When the two witnesses do come their ministry will center around Jerusalem. I believe they will be responsible for starting a great revival that will see at least 144,000 Jews saved in the early days of the tribulation period (Revelation 7:4-8). These 144,000 Jews will in turn be sealed by God (indwelt by Holy Spirit) and sent throughout the world to preach the Gospel. As the Holy Spirit was taken from the world when the rapture took place He will be re-introduced back into the world through the two witnesses and 144,000 witnesses. Many will come to know the Lord during this time and most will die for that privilege (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17).
The two witnesses will not be born into the world but will be sent from God. Yes, God could bring them into the world through birth (He alone has this power), but I donít believe He will. These will be men sent from heaven who will have heavenly bodies equipped especially for the task at hand. God will supply them with supernatural powers and they will not be able to be killed until their mission is complete. When the antichrist does kill them, God will have allowed it. Iím sure Satan will think he has won, but heís only walking deeper into the trap.
There has been much speculation regarding the two witnesses and their identities. I believe they will be Moses and Elijah, because they appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration, but whoever they are, they will be a devastating combination.
Their message will be one of repentance, judgment and preparation for the coming King. They will be dressed in sackcloth and their ministry will last the first three and a half years of the tribulation period. Although many will try, no one will be able to harm them. They will be given special powers to kill their enemies with fire or whatever means their enemies attempt to kill them. They will have the power to stop the rain from falling for the full three and a half years. They will have the power to turn water to blood, to call fire down from heaven and to bring massive plagues on the earth. Anyone who attempts to stop them from fulfilling their earthly ministry will be literally destroyed. No man or army will be able to stop or hinder their mission, not even the antichrist.
Yes, both the Antichrist and the Lordís two witnesses will be on the scene at the same time, but the Antichrist will be powerless against them. But at the conclusion of the three and a half years, God will allow the Antichrist to kill them. This will be a wonderful day as far as the world is concerned, so wonderful, the Bible says they will exchange gifts and have great celebrations because these men who tormented them are now dead. But after three days of partying and celebration, God will raise them from the dead and take them back to heaven for all the world to see (Revelation 11:8-13).
As mentioned earlier, the second group of witnesses, the 144,000 Jews, will be sealed for the work of God. They will be set aside to preach the message of salvation to the entire world and will have the seal of God on their foreheads as protection. Many will be saved during their ministry as stated in Revelation 7:9-17. I believe their mission will last throughout the seven years of the tribulation period up until just before the return of Christ.
The third group of witnesses are angels. During the course of the tribulation period, angels will visibly appear in the sky preaching to the inhabitants of the earth. Their message will be of repentance and warning not to take the mark of the beast.
Can you imagine seeing angels appearing in the air proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every man's language? Certainly, that would leave no doubt in my mind as to who the true God is. As I've said in the past, during this time period there will be no wondering if there is a God...He will make it plain for all the world to choose.
If you don't know the Lord, this is what you have to look forward to at the start of the tribulation period. Yes, salvation will be available but will you be granted the luxury of a second chance? Only the Lord knows for sure what the answer to that question is, but I tend to believe Scripture indicates the answer is no! (see Question# 22)
Are you ready to meet the Lord? If not, your time is running out!
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