The future Seven Years of Tribulation will usher in the largest and most impacting worldwide sharing of the gospel of all time.
When the Church Age ends suddenly with the departure of the Holy Spirit, along with every true Believer who is indwelled by Him, it not only begins Hell On Earth for those left behind but will also mark the beginning of an evangelistic outreach—the likes of which the world has never seen.
The worldwide evangelism is a major part of the Tribulation because two main things happen during those seven horrific years:
1) People will die and go to heaven, and
2) People will die and go to hell.
The choice will not be vague ... but rather clearly delineated between:
> Declining access to food, energy, etc., refusing the Mark of the Beast, which will send you to heaven for eternity.
> Accepting access to food, energy, etc., via the Mark of the Beast, which will send you to hell for eternity.
"These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." 2 Th. 1:9 (emphasis added)
Now you're probably thinking this choice is a no-brainer because who wouldn't choose eternity in heaven vs. an eternity in hell? But we're living in the Church Age and armed with the discernment of the Holy Spirit. But in the Tribulation the Holy Spirit will not indwell anyone on earth.
With no God-aided discernment, choosing food or no food will be a tough choice, even for those who may be suspicious of the World Leader's offer.
In the first few days after the Rapture, confusion will reign. There are interesting theories that argue that due to the effect on the electromagnetic poles of a mass exodus of humanity, anything electric will be out for days, if not weeks ... including cars, trains, and planes. Therefore, communication will be severely curtailed. Food supplies will be drained.
The contrast of before the Rapture and after the Rapture couldn't be more acute. Imagine one minute everything is normal, as it has always been. And the next minute, in the time it takes for your eye to twinkle, utter confusion ensues.
Today God patiently uses Believers to witness to non-Believers. And God's Spirit will not be removed until the last of His chosen Believers are saved.
God's patience is amazing. Despite the ungodliness of man on earth, He is patient to delay the end of the Church Age until His perfect work is complete.
After the Rapture, as the power grid slowly comes back on-line, there will be a new world with Satan filling the void with his lies.
However, one second after the Rapture, millions will instinctively know that they missed the Holy Spirit's exodus. They heard the Gospel, but they didn't trust the Gospel of Jesus' shed blood as a propitiation, or payment, for their sin.
Many will have a good Biblical head knowledge of the Gospel's doctrinal facts and they'll immediately turn to God's Word to determine what's ahead. And undoubtedly, without much effort, they will come across these words:
"Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." Dan. 12:3
God will use many of those left behind who knew "of God" to be fearless evangelists in the face of overwhelmingly strong satanic opposition. Most will go to their deaths choosing Jesus at all costs.
No doubt, many of those left behind will be motivated by what is referred to by some as their "second chance."
Some Bible scholars teach that if someone hears and rejects Jesus prior to Rapture, they will not have a "second chance" to get saved in the Tribulation. They usually base their theory on these verses:
"and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." 2 Th. 2:10-12 (emphasis added)
There is no reason to believe that this means rejecting salvation prior to Rapture seals your future in hell. That would be a blasphemous works-oriented doctrine--salvation based on what you do or don't do. That's totally inconsistent with other "not by works" scriptures.
Another way to show how ridiculous that argument is: If "No second chance" is true, you could argue that because we're in the Rapture window, we should not witness any more because if someone doesn't trust Jesus now, they can't in the Tribulation. 🙁
No. We all have "Second chances." How many did you have before you responded to the Gospel? Most had many. The Bible says anyone can be saved, by faith, even in the Tribulation. And millions will.
But this live-now-or-die eternal destiny choice is only available in the first three and a half years of the seven-year Tribulation. In the second half, "all" will worship Satan. None will be saved.
It's important to realize that in the first 3 1/2 years it's the New World Leader who is in charge ... until he dies from a head wound at the mid-point of the seven years of Tribulation.
At that point, Satan is thrown to the earth and will resurrect and empower the body of the slain New World Leader. So it's Satan himself, indwelling the body of a man, who is ruling the earth for the last 3 1/2 years.
"No one" will get saved in the last 3 1/2 years, and those who remain alive will survive only by taking the Mark of the Beast. But taking the Mark means that they go to hell forever.
But in the first 3 1/2 years of Tribulation, the eternal choice of choosing Jesus WILL be available. The gospel of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed throughout the world from three very unlikely sources:
1) Two Jewish Men
2) 144,000 Jewish Witnesses
3) An Angel in the Sky
Amidst the world's utter post-rapture confusion, two ancient Jewish men will cause quite a stir by abruptly showing up again in Israel ... wearing sackcloth.
One of the witnesses is Elijah, whom the Jews have been waiting to return for some 2600 years. Even today, it's tradition for Jews to set an empty place at the Passover table each year for Elijah, just in case he shows up.
Before the Passover dinner begins each year, Jewish families have the children open the front door to see if Elijah is there. So it will not be too surprising to the Jews when Elijah shows up.
They also know Elijah has yet to die as he was removed from the earth in a "chariot of fire" (an unidentified flying object--a UFO! :-).
So when Elijah shows up again on the earth, it will be a game-changer for the Jews. Accompanying Elijah, I believe, will be John the Revelator. I believe the 2nd Witness is John because:
1) Moses has already died and been buried by God.
2) Enoch was not a Jew, born prior to Abraham.
3) Jesus, in a discussion of how the disciples would die, scolded Peter to not be concerned if John didn't die until the end of time (John 21:21-23).
4) The Bible says John MUST prophesy again before "many people and nations and tongues and kings" (Rev. 10:11). This is an unfulfilled prophecy that will be fulfilled during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation.
5) We have solid evidence of how all the other Apostles died but nothing on how John died. "Tradition says he died in Ephesus" or "Patmos" or wherever.
These two Jewish witnesses will die after Satan is thrown to earth in the middle of the Tribulation.
But the three and a half years they spend on earth will be a royal pain in the side of the New World Leader.
He will loathe them as they preach the gospel while at the same time calling all the Jews to come home to Israel.
The Two Witnesses are eventually killed by Satan in the middle of the Tribulation period.
The 144,000 Jewish Witnesses also show up just after Rapture.
These are most likely from the Rabbinical ranks of young Jewish men today who will not touch a woman until after they marry. They literally spend their days voraciously studying the Old Testament.
Jesus will put His special mark on these 144K and meet with them personally on Mount Zion where they will undoubtedly have an amazing "come to Jesus" moment.
The veil will lift and their eyes will be opened to truth. They'll make the stunning connection that they murdered their Messiah. This new knowledge from the Lord will propel them into an evangelistic fervor that will cover the earth.
It's interesting that today, the top of Mt Zion in Jerusalem has never been fully developed. It holds two gentile cemeteries and the whole area is capable of holding a crowd of 144,000 to meet Jesus personally.
The top of Mt. Zion today is largely undeveloped due to numerous cemeteries...what a coincidence! 🙂
With their Biblical knowledge of the Old Testament, hearing the rest of the story will make total sense as Jesus is hidden many places in the Old Testament scriptures. They'll immediately devour the New Testament as well. And don't miss the irony of so many Jews embracing Jesus the Messiah, whom for centuries they've rejected!
Last on this list of three ways God proclaims the Gospel in the Tribulation is an angel who witnesses in the sky.
I have often taught in Bible studies, "In the Church Age, God doesn't send an angel in the sky on Wednesday nights to tell the world to worship Him, but rather, uses Believers on this earth to witness one-on-one."
Well, with the Believers and the Holy Spirit gone, God WILL send an angel in the sky!
But the thought of an angel preaching the Gospel from the sky is amazing. Wonder how he accounts for the different time zones?
So during the Tribulation the world will be teeming with the news of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
It's a terrible time but God promises Believers we will miss it as we're not destined for wrath.
> 1/4 of the earth dies from disease and raging nuclear wars (Rev. 6:4,8) in the beginning, then another 1/3 of mankind dies a few years later.
> Everything living in the sea dies (Rev. 16:3).
> The economy is devastated by runaway inflation (Rev. 6:5,6).
> There is no escape from the horrible heat (Rev. 7:16, 16:9).
> Satan's worst demons that have been bound up since Noah's flood will be released into the earth ... again (Rev. 9:2,3)!
Based on the Bible's many prophecies about this time period, we're obviously getting close. We need to be asking the Lord daily for opportunities to share what He has done in our life with our family, friends and co-workers.
Bill Perkins is the founder and Executive Director of Compass International, Inc.
© Copyright 1993-2014, Compass International Inc. www.compass.org / 800-977-2177
The above article may be forwarded in its entirety (including credits) without permission.
To sign up for our FREE Monthly Compass eNews with updates on future Bible conferences, Bible trips, specials on DVD Bible studies and an eye-opening look at a hot topic, Click Here
For more info or to sign up for our provocative FREE Good Morning Lord! Daily Devotional Email, Click Here
For more information on our life-impacting Biblelands Trips, Click Here