What in the World is Going to Happen? - Tribulation 3

Dr. Steve Viars March 6, 1990


- we've been talking about the tribulation, the seven year

  period of judgement on the earth and its inhabitants after

  the rapture

- so far we've seen that books of Daniel and Revelation teach

  that the rapture lasts seven years

- we worked our way through Daniel's seventy weeks and also

  saw that that dovetails with the information in the book of


- last week we looked at Matt. 24-25 to see what that passage

  says about the tribulation

- we learned that Jesus decribed the tribulation with quite a

  bit of detail for his disciples, but then he went on to

  spend a lot of time talking about the applications of those

  desciptions to them


- tonight we'd like to accomplish three things:

    1)  what is the purposes/purposes of the tribulation?

    2)  what does the book of Revelation contribute to this


    3)  what shouold that mean to us today?


 I.  What Are The Purposes of The Tribulation?


    A.  To prepare Israel to receive her Messiah


      - if you were to pick up the Bible and start reading it

        cover to cover, and didn't read:

          1)  the passages that talked about the tribulation,

          2)  the book of Revelation

          3)  a few other portions of Scripture like Romans



      - one of the questions you'd have would be -what

        happened to all the promises God made to Israel?

           - their land?

           - descendant sitting on David's throne forever?

           - Jehovah being their God and Israel being his



      - see, what happened to all those OT promises made to

        the nation of Israel?


      - the answer to that comes from studying the

        tribulation period

      - because one of God's purposes in the tribulation is

        to see a number of Jews accept the Messiah as savior


      - one passage that teaches this is Zech. 13:8-9

        "And it shall come to pass that in all the land,

         saith the Lord, two parts in it shall be cut off and

         die, but the third shall be left in it.  And I will

         bring the third part through the fire, and refine

         them as silver is refined, and will test them as

         gold is tested; they shall call on my name and I

         will hear them.  I will say, It is my people, and

         they shall say, The Lord is my God"

      - how do we know that this purpose will be


          - 144,000 - Rev. 7:1-8

          - wise virgins - Matt. 25


      - INPUT - what does that tell us about God?


            1. even his judgements have a gracious purpose


               - have you ever seen someone lose their temper

                 and begin to say or do things that had no

                 purpose or redeeming value?

               - (model airplane illus.)

               - some people view the tribulation that way,

                 that God is finally fed up and destroys

                 mankind with no plan or purpose


               - but that's not what these passages are

                 saying - instead they are saying that even

                 in judgement, God's gracious plan is that

                 some will turn and repent


            2. God will go to great lengths to see men saved


               - Romans 2:4 says - the goodness of God leads

                                   to repentance

               - it was God's desire that, because of the

                     - beauty of the creation

                     - miracle and blessing of life

                     - the simplicity of the gospel

               - because of His goodness, men and women

                 everywhere would trust Christ as Savior


               - but that hasn't happened

                   - he came unto his own, and his own

                     received him not

                   - they didn't respond to His goodness


                INPUT - how would God respond to that if he

                        were like many of us?  (thats your

                        last chance!)


               - II Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slack

                    concerning his promise, as some consider

                    slackness, but is longsuffering toward

                    us, not willing that any should perish,

                    but that all should come to repentance


         - What is the application of that to our attitudes

           in witnessing?  (need to be as patient as God is)

         - you may have invited someone to your home Bible

           study who said they didn't want to come, or maybe

           were a little cold about the whole thing

         - how do you respond to those kinds of people?


         - there are people in our church today that you

           would have never believed would be saved 12 months



         - God will go to great lengths to see men saved



    the second purpose of the tribulation:


    B.  Retribution on the world


        many places in Scripture teach that this is one of

        the purposes of the tribulation


        1.  Rev. 3:10 - Because thou hast kept the word of my

               patience, I also will keep thee from thehour

               of temptation, which shall come upon all the

               world, to try them that dwell opon the earth


        2.  Isa. 26:21 - For the Lord cometh out of His place

               to punish the inhabitants of the earth for

               their iniquity


        3.  II Thess. 2:12 - that they all might be judged

               who believed not the truth, but had pleasure

               in unrighteousness


        - one thing that every Jewish child learned early was

          that sin demanded a sacrifice, sin demanded a

          sacrifice (a payment)


        - of course a person today could trust Christ's

          payment and live


        - but for those who don't, they will have to pay for

          their own sinfulness themselves


        - I think one of the questions we need to talk about

          in connectiuon to that is, what should our attitude

          be towards this particular purpose of the



        - Certainly we're not going to be jubilant at this


        - anytime a person is judged, it is a sad time

          regardless of how bad that person was


        - but there is a sense in which even this purpose of

          the tribulation is a positive one for believers

          because at last truth wins out and evil is



        - do you ever grow weary living in a world filled

          with evil?


        - Christie Hefner article


        - see, we live around those mentalities every day and

          its possible to get pretty down and discouraged

          because truth seems to be taking quite a beating


        - the truth of the tribulation ought to encourage us

          because siding with God's truth is the side that is

          ultimately win out


        - we're not talking about some kind of holy

          arrogance, but the ditch on the other side is

          believers who walk around down and discouraged

          because of their beliefs

        - they're almost embarrassed to admit they believe

          the Bible

        - or that they've trusted Christ as their Savior in

          this unChristian world


        - somewhere between holy arrogance and spiritual

          depression is what the Scripture calls confidence

          and boldness, knowing that being on God's side is

          being on the victorious side


        - Paul said, thanks be unto God who always leads us

          to triumph in Christ


        - there's something wrong with the believer who goes

          through life almost apologetic about the fact thats

          he's a Christian, or that he ordering his life by

          God's truth


    - so those are two of the primary purposes of the



- now lets look at:


II.  Description of the Tribulation from Book of Revelation


    - what I'd like to do here is give an overview of the

      tribulation judgements as they are described in



1,2,3,4,5,6,( ) 7 Seals______________________________________

                1,2,3,4,5,6,( ) 7 Trumpets___________________

                               1,2,3,4,5,6, ( ) 7 Vials _____

        (explain parentheses)


    A.  Seven Seals of the scroll (chaps. 6-19 - 19:10)


        - the judgement chapters in Revelation begin with a

          scene in heaven where there's a scroll with seven


        - often important documents in those days were sealed

          so that the person who received the document could

          be sure no one opened it along the way

        - the way that worked, a king would write what he

          wanted on a scroll, pour melted wax on the joint,

          imprint that wax with his ring or some other object

          bearing his seal

        - then only a qualified person or persons were

          allowed to open it


        - the particular scroll described here has seven

          seals, where the writer wrote a while, them sealed

          it - then wrote some more, and sealed that--until

          it became a scroll with seven seals


        - read 5:3-7


        - 1st seal - (6:1,2) White Horse-AntiChrist peace

                             campaign (Matt. 24:5)

        - 2nd seal - (6:3,4) Red Horse-peace removed-war

                             (Matt. 24:6)

        - 3rd seal - (6:5,6) Black Horse-famine days wages

                             buy meager food (Matt. 24:7)

        - 4th seal - (6:7,8) Pale horse-death (Matt. 24:7-8)

        - 5th seal - (6:9-11) Martyred trib. saints - How

                             long? (Matt. 24:9)

        - 6th seal - (6:12-17) Worldwide chaos and great

                             prayer meeting (Mt. 24:12-17)


        - Parenthesis (Rev. 7) - Important Persons

                   - sealed witnesses of the tribulation


                     (144,000 Jews and a great host of



       - 7th seal - (Introduction of Christ)


    B.  Seven trumpets (8:7-19:10)


       - 1st (8:7) Hail, fire, blood, 1/3 of trees and grass


       - 2nd (8:8,9) great fire in the sea - 1/3 sea as

                   blood, 1/3 fish and ships destroyed

       - 3rd (8:10) wormwood star falls, 1/3 water made

                   bitter, many men die

       - 4th (8:12,13) 1/3 sun, moon, stars smitten

                 (Angel - 3 woes to inhabitants of earth for

                  the 3 trumpets yet to sound)

       - 5th (9:1-12) Satan cast out of heaven, locusts

                  plague from bottomless pit

       - 6th (9:13-21) 4 angels of River Euphrates, army of

                  200 million horsemen, 1/3 people killed,

                  rest repented not


       Parenthesis (Rev. 10-11) - Important persons

         10:1-11 - Angel and the little book

         11:1,2  - Times of Gentiles to end in 42 months

         11:3-12 - 2 witnesses killed and arise

         11:13,14 - (last of the 6th trumpet) - 2nd woe -

                     earthquake kills seven thousand men

       - 7th trumpet (11:15-19)


       Parenthesis (Rev. 12) - Important persons

         1,2 - the woman

         3,4 - Satan

         5,6 - Christ

         7-12 - archangel

         17  - Jewish remnant

         13:1-10 - beast out of the sea AntiChrist, man of

                   sin (2nd person of unholy trinity)

         13:11-18 - false prophet (3rd person of unholy


         14:1-5 - lamb and the 144,000

         14:6-7 - angel declaring the gospel

         14:8   - angel declaring fall of Babylon

         14:9-12 - angel declaring the doom of the beast


         14:13  - doom of the beast worshippers

         14:14-20 - vision of Christ and his sickle







    C.  Seven Vials

       1st (16:2) - sores on those with the mark of the beast

       2nd (16:3) - blood in the sea - death)

       3rd (16:4-6) - fountains of water affected

       4th (16:8-9) - sun scorches, men repent not

       5th (16:10,11) - sore upon beast and his followers -

                     men repent not

       6th (16:12) - waters of Euphrates dried up to prepare

                     way for kings of the east


       Parenthesis (16:13-16) unholy trinity gathered for


       7th vial - (16:17 ff) - thunder, lightening,

                 earthquake, hail, plagues upon great Babylon

                (Rev. 17) - Doom of Political Babylon (Rev.

                18) - Doom of religious Babylon

       Parenthesis - Hallelujah's of glorified saints


       Grand re-entry of King of Kings, Lord of Lords - Rev.



III.  Implications of These Descriptions


    INPUT - how do we know that there even would be any

            implications of all this?  (doctrine always given

            to change us)

    INPUT - can you think of any statements that might guide

                us in seeing applications from this material?

            1) Revelation of Jesus Christ - this material

               wasn't given to wow us like a science fiction


            2) Rev. 1:3 - blessed is he that reads, and they

               that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep

               those things that are written in it


    - questions to guide us, 1) What do these verses teach us

                      about Jesus?

                    2) what about these verses do we need to

                       read, hear, and keep to be positioned

                       to receive God's blessing?


    A.  Appreciate the orderliness of God


        - earlier we talked about how the tribulation isn't a

          time where things are out of control, because there

          is a clear purpose


        - this overview of Revelation streghthens that point

          because - the tribulation isn't a time where things

          are out of control because the judgements are

          carried out in such an orderly fashion


        - everything's perfectly organized with the

          judgements carried out in a systematic way where

          they are both devastating yet under control


        - illus - (Yater's baby Tucker)

          - born - took a big gasp of air, perforated his


          - air went into the chest cavity and made his lungs


          - Doctor recognized what was happening, rushed him

            down to neo-natal

          - put a needle in his chest cavity, drew off the

            oxygen, then reinflated the lungs


        - I wouldn't complain about that doctor bill, would


        - thank the Lord for a man who was able, in a

          stressful situation, identify the problem and then

          respond in an intelligent and controlled manner

        - I was talking to someone else about that and they

          said the great danger in that situation, when the

          adrennelin is flowing, is for the doctor to

          actually overreact and maybe cause worse damage

          because he didn't respond in a controlled manner


        - that situation impressed me, but infinately more

          impressive is the God of heaven who is judging the

          awfulness of sin yet does so in an organized,

          controlled manner


        - by the way, can I ask you, is that the way you deal

          with the sinfulness of others?

        - you do have to address the sinfullness of others

          from time to time

            - if you have people working for you, you do

            - if you have children, you do

            - if you're a church member, you do

            - if you're married, you do


        - would the folks under you say that, even when so

          and so is dealing with my sin or shortcomings, they

          do it under control, in an orderly fashion?


        - thats the way God deals with sin, and thats the way

          he wants us to deal with it


        - you might say - thats hard to do - you're right

        - can I give you a hint on how to get that done

           - one thing you've already done - study how thats

             true of God, and grow in your appreciation of it

           - in addition to that - when you're going to deal

             with someone else's sinfulness or shortcoming,

             plan it beforehand and write it out


           - thats exactly what God has done with the


           - I'm not saying He did it to keep Himelf under


           - but the fact that he did it means no one could

             accuse him of being disorderly or out of control


    B.  Recognize the power of Christ


        - Sunday before last Pastor was walking us through

          John 7 where Jesus calmed the storm

        - remember the disciples amazement to see the wind

          and waves obey Him?


        - for sure that ought to be one of our responses

          tonight as we see how the entire Universe responds

          to Christs commands


        - we know that Christ created the world

        - we know that by his power it is held together

        - but we've also seen tonight that by his word, it

          can be destroyed


        - one of the things the tribulation reveals about our

          Savior is his great power


        - its pretty easy, when we look around at the

          circumstances, to feel pretty powerless

        - folks often say, I just can't keep going

        - I can't keep living for God in this trial

        - I can't keep returning good for evil

        - I can't keep bringing up my children in the nurture

          and admonition of the Lord

        - I just can't keep growing


        - Paul said in Eph. 1 that he wanted the eyes of our

          understanding to be opened, so that we waould grow

          in our comprehension of:

                - what is the exceeding greatness of his



        - studying the tribulation can help us grow in that



    C.  Be sure your picture of Christ includes his function

        as judge


        - as I get out and have opportunity to talk to folks

          who say they are Christians but either don't attend

          church or do't attend one that teaches the

          Scripture, there seems to be a characteristic that

          is often present


        - that is, no real understanding of the expectations

          of Christ, or future judgements that he will



        - because of that, they think its pretty spiritual to

          mention God when they are having a difficulty or in

          the hospital or whatever, but there's just no

          category in their thinking for the kinds of things

          we're talking about tonight


        - that results in a view of Christ similar to many of

          the pictures we see that artists have done

        - where Christ is a weak individual who's there

          basically to answer your requests--

        - this material puts that in balance

        - Revelation 1 pictures Christ as one who:

            "Had in right hand seven stars, and out of his

             mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and his

             countenance, was as the sun shineth in its

             strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his

             feet as dead"

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 three 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