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

Dr. Steve Viars February 27, 1990


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


- 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


- 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


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


- 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


- 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


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


- 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


- 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


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


- 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


- 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


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


- 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


- 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


- we've pretty much grown up with a silver


- 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


- 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


- 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


- 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


- that becomes so much more weighty when we

realize how bad the tribulation is going to


- 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?


- 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


- 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


- 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


- 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


- 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:

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.

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