Prelude to the 'Day of the Lord'
would you react if God suddenly spoke to you and warned you to take
drastic action to save your life from imminent destruction?
Would you listen attentively? Would you heed what He had to say? Or would you just scoff and disregard His warning?
realize that God has already spoken to us today: "God, who . . . spake
in time past ... by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto
us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1-2).
The words of God for mankind have
been faithfully recorded in the Bible. We are told that all scripture
was inspired by God for our instruction and correction (II Tim. 3:16).
Therefore, when you read the Bible, God is speaking directly to you!
book of Revelation is full of warnings of awesome, catastrophic events
soon to occur. In the last chapter of this most misunderstood book of
the Bible, the Revelator — Jesus Christ — concludes: "Behold, I come
quickly: blessed is he that keepeth [acts on] the sayings of the
prophecy of this book" (Rev. 22:7).
Bible prophecies are not to
be taken lightly. They will have a tremendous effect on your future! As
the old saying goes, "Forewarned is forearmed " If you will heed the
warnings God recorded, He promises a way of escape from the coming time
of great tribulation.
The scriptural warnings of Jesus' "Olivet
Prophecy" recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 take on special
meaning in our 20th century. The world is experiencing the conditions
Christ foretold would precede these great worldwide catastrophes.
Notice what He said would happen.
1. What did Jesus
warn about those who would proclaim He is the Christ? Matt. 24 5, 11
What are we told elsewhere about these so-called representatives of
Christ? II Cor. 11:13-15. Who do these ministers actually represent?
Verse 15. How could this be? Rev. 12:9.
2. What further events did Jesus predict would take place before His Second Coming? Matt. 24:6-7.
a world spiritually deceived through the efforts of the devil and his
false ministers preaching a false Christ and substituting a false
gospel in place of Christ's true Gospel, we are now in the recess
between stages of world war. The first two world wars have occurred. In
this interim, brushfire wars have raged and "rumors of wars" continue
Famines, disease epidemics and earth quakes will continue to grow in
severity and culminate in world war. Hundreds of millions of earth's
inhabitants will experience their effects
But are these events only the "beginning of sorrows" — or, more
properly translated, of travail or tribulation? Verse 8.
four-part "beginning of sorrows" is also pictured by the first four
seals — the four horsemen — described in Revelation 6:1-8. For a more
detailed explanation of these "sorrows" — false religion, wars,
famines, disease — write for our free booklet, The Four Horsemen of the
4. How is the fifth seal described
in Revelation 6:9-11? What did Jesus say about this time of religious
persecution and martyrdom? Matt. 24:9, Luke 21:12-17.
point we need to understand that the principle of duality applies to
many prophecies. There is a former, typical fulfillment and then a
final, antitypical fulfillment.
religious persecution and martyrdom spoken of in Matthew and Luke did
actually occur, in the typical or preliminary sense, in the nation of
Judah when the Roman armies crucified tens of thousands of Jews about
A.D. 70 Millions more from various nationalities were also tortured and
killed by the great false church during the Middle Ages (Rev. 17:6,
18:24). Many of these were true Christians. Jesus said more Christians
would be martyred at the end time; John said the same in Revelation
This future martyrdom, of which the earlier martyrdoms
were only a type, will occur at the time to which John, the inspired
writer of the book of Revelation, was earned forward in vision — just
prior to the "Day of the Lord "
5. How does
Luke 21.20-24 describe what will happen to Judah and Jerusalem (the
Jews of the modern nation Israel) just before Christ returns?
23 is made plainer in the modern English of the Moffatt translation:
"For sore anguish will come upon the land and Wrath on this people"
Notice the parallel account in Matthew 24:15 20. Do these verses
foretell a time of great tribulation in the world? Verse 21. What would
happen to all mankind if Christ did not intervene in the affairs of
men? Verse 22
7. Who will be responsible for
inspiring the persecution, warfare and man's
inhumanity to man during this soon-coming terrible time of trouble?
Rev. 12:12. Why will he be so wrathful? Notice the last part of
This period of great
worldwide tribulation is Satan's wrath. It will be unleashed upon God's
Church, Jacob (the descendants of ancient Israel) and on the whole
world because the devil will know he has but a short time left to work
deception, destruction and death before being imprisoned for 1,000
years (Rev. 20:1-3).
8. However, does God
promise to protect those of His end time Church — those who faithfully
keep His Word and do His Work — from the wrath of the devil? Rev.
These promises of
protection are for the Philadelphia era of God's Church, which God has
raised up through His apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong. Only this Church
is carrying on the Work of God today.
Even though God's Church
is relatively small, Jesus has opened the powerful "doors" of radio,
television, the printing press and personal evangelism to His Church
that it may preach and publish His Gospel of the Kingdom of God as a
warning witness to the world. And for faithfully obeying His Word and
doing His works, Christ promises to spare His servants from the "hour
of temptation" — the terrible wrath of Satan.
Revelation 12 also speaks of God's end-time Church, personifying it as
a woman. Will God provide His Church with shelter away from the wrath
of the devil? Rev. 12:13-16.
end-time prophecy tells of an escape from the terrible tribulation
caused by Satan the devil God's Church will be in a "wilderness" place
untouchable by Satan or by his human agents or by the devastation of a
world at war around them. Regardless of where the place of protection
is, the way to make sure you will be there is clear.
Unfortunately, will there be some of God's people who will not qualify
for this protection, who will have to go through the coming time of
Satan's wrath? Rev. 12:17. Why will those of the Laodicean era of God's
Church not be accounted worthy to escape? Rev. 3:14-19.
truly Spirit-begotten Christians will have become so "lukewarm," so out
of contact with God and consequently lackadaisical in living the
Christian life and doing their part in God's Work, that they will have
to go through the Great Tribulation and face even torture and martyrdom
to wake them up! Because God loves them (verse 19) and wants them in
His Family, He will allow this to happen as a punishment (Heb. 12:5-8)
so they may see their spiritual "nakedness" and therefore repent before
it's too late
11. How is the sixth seal
described? Rev. 6:12-13. Will a great earthquake occur at this time?
Verse t2. Where else are these spectacular events described? Matt-
24:29. How soon after the fifth seal does all this occur? Same verse,
The sixth seal
consists of awesome heavenly signs — sun and moon becoming dark and the
"stars" falling. Spectacular meteor showers will make the starry
heavens appear to be crashing earthward!
What other great heavenly sign occurs at this time? Matt. 24:30, Rev.
6; 14. Are all these events intended to warn the world that God's wrath
upon rebellious mankind is about to begin — that the "Day of the Lord,"
with its punishments for sin, is about to commence? Rev. 6:15-17, Joel
2:30-31, Zeph. 1:14-18, Isa. 2:19-21.
13. What is
the reason for the punishment God is soon going to bring upon this
world? Isa. 24:4-6. Notice especially verse 5
Will this punishment in reality be a manifestation of God's great love
tor the humanity He created? Notice again the principle in Hebrews
12:5-8. To what end will God's punishments be directed? I Tim. 2.3-4,
II Pet. 3:9.
As any wise and
loving father punishes his children for their own good when they refuse
to respond to kind and loving verbal admonition, so an all-loving,
all-wise God will finally plead with rebellious humanity in the only
language humanity will be able to understand.
God is going
to punish this world with righteous judgments — with plagues so
terrible many will at last recognize God is dealing with them. Many
will then heed and turn from their wicked ways to seek God and His law
That coming period of punishment, described in more
than 30 different prophecies scattered through both Old and New
Testaments as the "Day of the Lord," shall lead directly into the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ and world peace at last.