understanding the great tribulation

Understanding the Great Tribulation

1 Thessalonians 1:610

Paul once wrote to the Church in Thessalonica, “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10).

When Paul speaks of “the wrath to come” he is talking about the Great Tribulation period.

What is the Great Tribulation?

The Bible tells of the coming “day of God’s wrath,” when Satan will rule on Earth. Jesus Christ said,

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

The Four Horsemen

In his vision, the Apostle John saw the four horsemen of the apocalypse, who represent the coming judgment of the tribulation period.

The White Horse of the Antichrist

Read Revelation 6:1-2.

In biblical symbolism, a white horse speaks of victory. At Jesus’ return, He will come upon a white horse, with all the saints following Him. (Read Revelation 19:11-16.)

But this white horse in Revelation 6 is a picture of the Antichrist. He is mimicking the Second Coming of Christ. This Antichrist, whom the Bible also calls the Beast, will come as a worldwide leader.

The Red Horse of War

Read Revelation 6:3-4

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. As the Antichrist will be inflamed with hatred and sin, war will break out. This world did not want the Prince of Peace, so He will stand aside, and the streets will be filled with dead bodies. (Read Matthew 24:15-22.)

The Black Horse of Famine

Read Revelation 6:5-6

Already, half of the people in the world go to bed hungry, but greater famine is coming.  When war comes, people are no longer able to till fields and harvest crops. Starvation will stalk the world. The scales in the hand of this rider represent food being carefully rationed out.

The Pale Horse of Death

Read Revelation 6:7-8

The Greek word for “pale” is chloros. It means a ghastly green, and speaks here of putrefaction and death. The Great Tribulation will be so horrible that men will want to die, calling death a welcome release—but it will not be, because after death comes judgment and Hell.

The Church and the End Times

Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33b), but He was not talking about the Great Tribulation. God never pours out His wrath upon His children.

1 Thessalonians 5:2,4,9 says, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night…. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief…. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Christ said to the faithful Church, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

How Should Christians Wait for the Second Coming of Christ?

“You became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe” (1 Thessalonians 11:6-7, emphasis added).

Studying Bible prophecy is not enough. The Bible says we are to serve God until He comes. How do you serve the true, living God? You turn from idols—anything that you love or trust more than God. (See 1 Thessalonians 1:9.)

We are to be longing for His coming. “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He [Christ] is pure” (1 John 3:3; word in brackets added).

Known for his evangelistic zeal and uncompromising commitment to the Word of God, Adrian Rogers was one of the greatest preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian...

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