What in the World is Going to Happen? - Tribulation 2

Steve Viars February 27, 1990

            WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING TO HAPPEN?                  

- we've been looking at what the Bible says about end-time

  events

- so far we've talked about the rapture, the judgement seat

  of Christ, and we began talking about the tribulation

- last week we defined the tribulation as a seven year period

  of judgement on the earth and its inhabitants after the

  rapture

- so we're not talking about something the church will go

  through, but it is a subject the church needs to know about

- we also studied what the scripture says about the duration

  of the tribulation

- INPUT - how long did we say it would last? (7 years)

        - what passage did we study to show this truth?

          (Dan.  9)

- INPUT - God gave Daniel a vision about how many weeks? (70

          weeks)

        - What did those weeks refer to? (groups of 7 Jewish

          years)

        - How many of those weeks have already elapsed? (69)

        - How many years would that be? (483 Jewish years)

          (from decree to rebuild Jerusalem to crucifixion)

        - now we are in the gap period - the age of grace

        - How many prophetic weeks does that leave? (1 week)

        - How many years is that? (7) - thus the tribulation

          lasts seven years, divided into two 3 1/2 year

          periods

 

- tonight we're going to look at a passage of Scripture that

  adds a lot of truth to our understanding of the

  tribulation, and also has some great challenges for us

  today - Matt 24-25

 

- the context of this passage is very important

 

I.  What Is The Context?

 

    A.  Jewish rejection of the Messiah

 

    - throughout his ministry, Jesus has faced opposition

      from the Jewish leaders

    - that opposition intensifies, and then culminates in

      Matt. 12, where the Pharisees officially reject Christ

      as their Messiah and actually say that his miracles are

      done in the power of the devil

    - from that time on - Christ begins to speak of the

      church

 

    B.  Revelation of the church

 

    - in Matt. 16, Jesus and the disciples are in Ceasarrea

      Philippi, the city of the dead gods, where statues of

      gods and goddesses have been erected on the cliffs all

      around the city

    - Jesus asks Peter, who do you say that I am?

    - Peter rightly responds, thou art the Christ, the Son of

      the living God

    - Jesus says, Thats right Peter, the Father revealed that

      to you, and upon that rock, that confession, I will

      build my church, and the gates of hell shall not

      prevail against it

    - from that time on, its very important as we read

      Christ's words, that we determine who he's speaking to,

      Israel, the church, or unsaved Gentiles

 

    C.  Woes on Pharisees and Jerusalem

 

    - starting in Matt. 20, Jesus has

      given a series of parables including the parable of the

      two sons, householder, the marriage feast

    - in every one of those he speaks of the forthcoming

      judgement on Israel because of their unbelief

    - 21:43 - therefore I say unto you, the kingdom of God

              shall be taken away from you, and given to a

              nation bringing forth the fruits of it

    - then he starts in chapter 23 to give the woes on the

      Pharisees for their hypocrisy and externalism

    - liked them to snakes and blind men and whited tombs

 

    - he says that their fathers killed the prophets and now

      they were going to kill Him

 

    - then he turns in verse 37 and talks about the judgement

      that was to come on Jerusalem

    - he says, behold, your house is left desolate

 

    - from that point, Jesus and the disciples are leaving

      Jerusalem and heading for the Mount of Olives

    - when chapter 24 opens, we're in the final week of

      Christ's ministry

    - this is after the triumphal entry, the final cleansing

      of the temple

 

    E. Disciples comments and questions

 

        - on the way to the mount, the disciples talk about

          how beautiful the temple is

 

        1.  look at the beautiful temple (Mark 13:1-4, Luke

            21:5-7)

 

        - they are talking about Herod's temple that he built

          for the Jews, started in 19 B.C.  and wasn't

          completed till 62 A.D. (one generation later than

          these verses) - this temple was known as one of the

          wonders of the world

        - Mark tells us the disciples said, "Teacher, behold

          what wonderful stones and what wonderful

          buildings!"

 

        - Jesus' response - read Matt. 24:2

        - from that, disciples have three questions

 

        INPUT - what are the questions according to vs. 3?

 

        2.  3 questions

 

            a.  When will the temple be destroyed? (answered

                Luke 21:20-24

            b.  What is the sign of your coming to reign?

                (answered Matt. 24:29-44)

 

            c.  What is the sign of the end of the age?

                (Gentike domination) (answered Matt. 24:4-28)

 

        - Jesus is going to answer those questions, and

          answer a couple more that they didn't think to ask,

          but we need to be sure we divide his answers

          according to the groups he's addressing in his

          answers

 

II.  How Are The Answers Divided?

 

    A.  Jewish - Matt. 24:1-44

 

    B.  Church - Matt. 24:45-25:30

 

    C.  Gentiles - Matt. 25:31-46

 

    - every one of these groups needs truth about the

      tribulation

    - Jewish people need this truth as a motivation now to be

      saved and as an explanation in the tribulation for what

      is happening

    - the church needs this truth as motivate us to serve

      faithfully now and be thankful we won't have to suffer

      these things

    - the Gentiles need this truth because they need to

      understand where they fit into the end-time scheme of

      things

 

    - INPUT - before we move on, what does this tell us about

              the Scripture?

              (its timeless, its applicable to everyone

               regardless of their race, economic background,

               or religious belief)

             - contrast this to what Doc Welk said - half of

               your training will be proven wrong in 6-10

               years, and we can't tell you which half

             - yet here's what God says about His truth

                 - "The grass withers and the flower fades,

                    but the Word of our God shall stand

                    forever" - Isa.  40:8

 

            - in fact Jesus is going to say that same thing

              in the middle of this passage, chapter 24, vs.

              35-"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my

                  words shall not pass away"

 

III.  What Are The Answers (to the disciples questions?)

 

    - first question was answered in Luke 21, we won't look

      at that answer (just want you to know that it was

      answered)

 

    A.  Jewish 24:1-44

 

        1.  beginning of sorrows - 4-8 - corresponds with

            (Rev.  6:1-8) (first 4 seal judgements)

            - talks about wars, false teachers,

            - read v. 8

 

        2.  events leading to the "great tribulation" - 9-14

            (Rev. 6-7)

            - martyrs and chaos (Rev. 6:9-11)

            - worldwide preaching (Rev. 7)

              - read vs. 14

              - INPUT - who would that refer to in the trib?

                        (144,000 sealed witnesses)

 

           (#1 & #2 refer to the first 3 1/2 years)

              "then shall the end come" - v. 14

 

        3.  great tribulation  24:15-28

            - abominable one who desolates - v. 15 (Rev. 13)

               - INPUT - speaking of who? - AntiChrist who

                         has broken his pact with Israel

            - warning to Jews to flee - 16-20

            - description of the trib. - 21-28 (Rev. 16-18)

               - read 21-22

            - Battle of Armaggedon - v. 28 (read) - comp. to

              Rev. 19:7-8 - very graphic presentation of the

              terror of the tribulation (Rev. 19:11-21)

 

        - we couldn't overemphasize the destruction and

          devastation that takes place during these 3 1/2

          years of the great tribulation

 

        - you might say, why was Christ so specific and so

          detailed in his description of the tribulation here

          on the Mount of olives?

        - perhaps there's two answers:

           1) to communicate a message to the disciples

              - they had rose colored glasses on for sure

              - they are walking around enamored by the

                beauty of the temple, even after Christ has

                talked about the judgement that is about to

                fall on the Pharisees, their religious

                system, the city of Jerusalem and the temple

 

              - He's saying, guys, you'll never make it in

                the ministry you're about to be thrust into

                unless you realize how serious a judgement

                awaits those who don't respond to your

                message of salvation through Me

              - if you don't understand that,

                 - you'll give up

                 - you won't minister with the right

                   intensity

                 - you'll compromise truth

              - this is time to be gawking at the temple-

              that temple and the religious system it

                represents is coming down

 

           2) to communicate a message to us

              - this thing is going to be serious

              - see, I'm sure that all of us know that the

                tribulation is going to be bad, but I'm not

                sure what thoughts come into our minds when

                we think about bad

 

              - see, would you agree with me, we don't know

                experientially what bad is, if the

                tribulation is the standard

 

              - now I want to be careful, I don't want to

                minimize some of the great difficulties you

                may have faced in your life, or the ones you

                may be facing now

 

              - but even keeping that in mind, even if we

                pooled all of the difficulties that all of us

                have faced in our entire lives and packed

                them into a 3 1/2 year period, that still

                wouldn't be anything compared to the

                tribulation

 

              - when I think about that, I'm most concerned

                about those of us who are younger

                (those of us at the end of the baby-boomer

                generation)

 

              - we've pretty much grown up with a silver

                spoon

              - some of us haven't really experienced war

                personally, we didn't have to fear the draft,

                we haven't faced real economic difficulties

 

              - the danger for some of us would be to

                minimize the seriousness of the tribulation

                because we just don't have anything to liken

                it to

              - ultimately, none of has anything to liken it

                to, but thats especially true the younger you

                are

              - in fact, I was asking myself, What's the

                worst day you've ever had - the worst thing

                you've ever experienced

              - while there have been difficulties, its

                almost laughable in comparison to this

 

              - the point is, Jesus had to make this

                description specific, because minimizing the

                seriousness of the tribulation will greatly

                effect a person's relationship and service

                for God

 

              - in fact, that subject is so important, Jesus

                is going to address it specifically in a

                minute

 

              - to close out the Jewish aspect of His

                answers, He tells them about:

 

        4.  Son of man's return in power and glory - 29-31

            (Rev. 19:11-21)

        5. He also gives some concluding exhortations to the

           Jews

           - fig tree - know the time is nigh - v. 33

           - Noah - watch - v. 42

           - householder - be ready - v. 44

 

        at that point there is a:

 

        6.  shift in the content

            a.  Jesus begins to answer questions that the

                disciples didn't originally ask

            b.  speaking of issues that are primarily

                applicable to the church

            - there's still the Jewish flavor, but there's

              great application for the church

 

    B.  Coming for His church - 24:45-25:30

 

        - Christ speaks to the disciples and the church with

          five parables, three of which Matthew records

 

        - the parables are these

 

        1.  parables

            a. faithful servants - 45-51

               - where the Lord leaves and entrusts his

                 servants with responsibilities

               - the man who is faithfully doing what the

                 Lord commanded when the Lord returns is

                 blessed and faithful and wise

 

             b. wise and foolish virgins - 25:1-13

               - where five had no oil for their lamps and

                 were therefore unprepared when the

                 bridegroom returned

 

             c. profitable/unprofitable servants -25:14-30

               - where each servant was given a different

                 amount of money, and were judged when the

                 master returned based on their faithfulness

                 with what God entrusted them

 

        2.  applications

 

            - just looking at the amount of content that

              Jesus addresses to the church after talking

              about the tribulation shows how practical and

              important a study of the tribulation is

 

            - He's saying in different ways and through

              different parables, because the tribulation is

              coming and because it will be terrible, you

              must be ready...

 

            a.  be ready by being saved

                - the virgins were foolish because they

                  hadn't taken the first step toward being

                  prepared

 

                - that becomes so much more weighty when we

                  realize how bad the tribulation is going to

                  be

 

                - I can remember what it was like to go

                  through a portion of my life not being sure

                  I was saved, and if you are in that

                  position tonight, I would urge you to speak

                  to someone about it tonight,

                - because we've seen what the Scripture says

                  about how bad the coming tribulation is

                  going to be

                - and even if you die before it starts, the

                  great white throne judgement isn't going to

                  be any better

 

                - this point also gives us something to do

                  around invitation time, doesn't it?

                - INPUT?

 

                - folks who come off the street and here the

                  gospel often aren't viewing it in terms of

                  the serious consequences of not doing so

                - we can't preach this kind of message every

                  Sunday morning - but you and I, since we

                  know these trues, can be fervently praying

                  that no one would leave without trusting

                  Christ as Savior

 

            b.  be ready by being faithful

                - let me ask you - do you believe the average

                  Christian's lifestyle communicates that

                  they believe the tribulation could begin

                  soon?  or that when it does begin, it will

                  be serious?

 

                - a father who believes this is going to be

                  doing all he can to model truth so that his

                  children will be saved and not have to go

                  through the trib.

                - we're not being deterministic, the child

                  might not respond, but the father who

                  believes in the tribulation is going to be

                  busy teaching truth and modeling truth

 

                - I don't want my child to possibly face the

                  trib. partly because I wasn't ready

                - I don't want that to happen to neighbors

                - friends, family

 

                - Wouldn't it be terrible if someone could

                  say, well, you obviously didn't believe,

                  how did you expect me to?

 

                - the truth of the tribulation is a great

                  motivator

                - now you might ask, are you saying we ought

                  to just be motivated by fear and judgement

                - no, but that better than not being

                  motivated period

 

                - see, we also ought to be motivated by God's

                  grace, his love for us, his past

                  faithfulness

                - but listen, there are days when I'm just

                  not being as godly as I should be

                - Its at that those times that I need to have

                  stored in my mind as many reasons as

                  possible to love and serve God faithfully

 

                - the problem with some believers is they

                  haven't stored anything in their mind like

                  we're talking about tonight

                - so when they need the truth to keep being

                  faithful, they go to the cupboard and the

                  cupboard is bare

 

                - they fail to be faithful and they fail to

                  be ready because the concept of the

                  tribulation is either foreign or passe

 

            c.  be ready by being "proportionately

                productive "

                - see, someone could be here tonight and say,

                  well, my belief in the coming trib. is as

                  evident as the next guys

 

                - Jesus shows, we're not talking about

                  comparing you to the next guy

                - we're talking about comparing you to the

                  gifts and abilities God has given

 

                - its staggering to think about all that God

                  has entrusted with here

                - every time I tell someone about our new

                  land, I'm overwhelmed at God's goodness

                - add to that new homes and growth all around

                  us

                - thats looking at it from the corporate side

                  but its true individually as well

 

                - we have individuals here tonight who are as

                  well trained in the Word of God as some

                  pastors

                - many here tonight have been put in

                  positions where they could potentially

                  impact many individuals for Christ

                - many have been given abilities to work with

                  people and love people and influence people

                - as a church, we are in a five talent

                  situation for sure - and thats true of many

                  individuals as well

                - the day will come, when we will be in

                  heaven knowing that the tribulation is

                  taking place on earth

                - on that day, wouldn't it be great to hear

                  the Lord say, well done, thou good and

                  faithful servant, enter thou into the joy

                  of the Lord

 

                - question tonight is:

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video