Lesson 351 - Senior
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast" (Isaiah 26:20).
I God's Judgment upon the Land
1. The Lord will reckon with the earth and its inhabitants, [ISA:24:1], [ISA:24:3-4]; [ISA:26:21]; [ISA:34:1-3]; [ISA:13:11]; [MAT:24:21-22]; [2TS:1:7-9].
2. God's judgment will be without partiality, [ISA:24:2]; [ISA:34:2-5]; [JHN:12:48]; [ROM:2:8-9]; [COL:3:25];
I Peter 1:17.
3. The curse is pronounced upon the earth as the result of man's sins, [ISA:24:5-12]; [GEN:3:17]; [JER:44:22].
4. A remnant shall be spared and shall glorify God, but there shall be no escape for the wicked, [ISA:24:16-18], [ISA:24:21-22]; [ISA:34:6-8]; [PRO:11:21]; [PRO:19:5]; [AMO:9:1-4]; [MAT:23:33]; [ROM:2:3]; [HEB:2:3].
5. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunken man, [ISA:24:19-20]; [ISA:2:19]; [ISA:13:13]; [REV:11:19].
II Safety for the Righteous
1. The righteous dead will be resurrected, and, with the righteous living, will be translated to Heaven before the tribulation, [ISA:26:19-20]; [1CO:15:19-22], [1CO:15:51-54]; [1TS:4:13-17]; [REV:20:4].
2. The Lord of hosts will reign in Jerusalem at the close of the tribulation, [ISA:24:23]; [ISA:2:1-3]; [ZEC:14:9], [ZEC:14:16-17]; [REV:11:15]; [REV:19:11-16].
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. . . . then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" [MAT:24:14], [MAT:24:21]). The Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached in the nations of the world, and people have largely rejected it; therefore the Great Tribulation will certainly follow in the course of events. Looking out over the world today, one can clearly see the evil influences of sin and the manifestations of the workings of Satan that are engulfing the human race. It seems that with the advancement of knowledge and learning there is less inclination toward righteousness and true godliness. The Bible says: "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" [2TM:3:13]).
The Lord gives solemn warning throughout His Word that sin and sinners will not go unpunished. The prophecy of Isaiah gives an indication as to how widespread this punishment will be in the day of the Lord's anger: "Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof" [ISA:24:1]). No living man will be exempt from the judgments of God in that day. All people will suffer as the result of the sins that they committed. The people will suffer as well as the false prophets who taught them and gave them a false sense of security; the masters of the man who could with their money buy almost anything of earthly goods and happiness will suffer with the servants who laboured for them; the mistresses and their maidens, the buyers and the sellers, the borrowers and the lenders -" all will find themselves confronted with God's anger and judgment because they refused the plan of salvation that God has made for the inhabitants of the world.
Isaiah, among the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, was pre-eminently a prophet of redemption; but he also spoke much of coming judgments upon specific countries and the world in general. The sentence of judgement pronounced in the 24th chapter seems to be directed to the whole world, and the main reasons for judgment are listed: "They have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant."
All sins of men are displeasing to God, but probably the most outrageous of men's sins is the rejection of Christ. From the very first sin that was committed against God, God promised that He would send a Redeemer to make atonement for man's sins. The everlasting covenant includes all men. Down through the years the promise was renewed and the reality came nearer, until God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to suffer and die a sacrificial death on the Cross, that through Jesus' Blood all men might be saved. "God . . . now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" [ACT:17:30-31]).
The only assurance of missing the terrors and sufferings of the Great Tribulation is obedience to the terms of the everlasting covenant -" in other words, believe in Jesus Christ, repent of sins committed, and love and obey God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength. Sad to say, mankind as a whole is not receiving or submitting to the provisions of the covenant. Because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved, the majority of the world's population is destined to perish.
Sin takes a terrific toll in human life throughout the years; but the Great Tribulation will be a time of special judgment. There have been times of trouble before, but there has never been a time in the history of all the world that will compare with this time described in the Word of God. The Great Tribulation will be seven years in length. The latter part of that period is a time in which most terrible judgment will be poured out upon the inhabitants of the nations of the earth, Jew and Gentile alike, for their ungodliness and their rejection of the Gospel and the message of Christ. It will be a period of utmost misery, pain, and anguish, both physically and spiritually, to every living human being. Sin and wickedness will have their culmination in this awful catastrophe of judgment. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," the Word of God tells us, and the reaping time is coming just as surely as the sowing time.
The children of men are given to understand through the Word that it is no small thing to turn away from the Lord, and reap the consequences of sin. Some men try to plead ignorance of God and His Law, but God says "they willingly are ignorant" [2PE:3:5]). No excuse for sin will stand in this time of judgment, because ample provision has been made to remove sin from the human heart. Judgment is not an inspiring theme, perhaps, but it is a very necessary part of the Word of God, especially in view of the things that are threatening the world.
"Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" [REV:12:12]). The devil had fought in Heaven and prevailed not, so on earth he will do his utmost to defeat the plan of God. As soon as the Church -" the full overcoming Christians -" is raptured out of the world, the devil will marshal the forces of men and set up his evil plan to rule the earth.
Jesus came as the incarnate Word, the Son of God manifest in the flesh; so the Antichrist comes as the devil incarnate, the very embodiment of the devil himself. The character of this Antichrist is set forth in the Bible in very plain terms. He is a man of lawlessness, one who has no regard for the laws of man or the Law of God. That is quite significant in these days, because we are living in lawless days. One of the things that has marked international relations of recent years has been the disregard for law or for treaties or for pledge word; all has been disregarded. There has been a total disregard for the Law of God, too, among certain nations. These are some of the sings that indicate the soon coming of this Antichrist.
He will be an oppressor, a tyrant beyond all other tyrants, overpowering them all. He attains his position by flatteries; but once the position is secure, he will bring about his goal by compulsion. Daniel, in speaking of him, said that he will "honour the God of forces." In other words, he will honour militarism.
In these days when the world is rearming at a desperate rate and seeking to establish defences, militarism has become one of the leading factors in many nations. It has become the arm upon which nations are depending to bring about their ends; and coercion is one of the significant features of these military nations. They do not depend much upon diplomacy or arbitration. They are not trying to get together any longer upon a reasonable basis and meet their problems in a reasonable way; but they are determining to gain their ends by force -- a very strong characteristic of the Antichrist.
Mark of the Beast
The life of Christ stands out above all other lives as the representative of God's righteousness to this world. The Antichrist, on the contrary, will come as a representative of iniquity. In fact, he will be a monster of iniquity, a hideous monster. He is represented in the Word of God as being a beast; and all who remain on earth during the reign of the Antichrist will be required to take the mark of the beast in their foreheads or in their right hands, or forfeit their lives. So rigid will be the requirement that "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" [REV:13:17]). Dire woe is pronounced upon those who receive the mark of the beast: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of hi8s name" [REV:14:9-11]).
Way of Escape
As we read the description in the Word of God of the reign of the Antichrist, and of the terrible conditions that will exist during the Great Tribulation, we can be thankful that God has provided a way by which we may escape that time. Jesus Christ is coming back to earth to catch away His waiting saints -" those of His children who have made the necessary preparation to meet Him. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" [1TS:4:16-17]).
God spared Noah when the earth was destroyed by water; He spared Lot in the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and he spared Israel when the death angel passed over Egypt. In like manner He has provided for His people a means of escape from the Tribulation. "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain" [ISA:26:20-21]). It is imperative that the children of men take advantage of the Gospel call today, for each succeeding day produces unmistakable signs that the day of Christ's coming is at hand.
1. Why has God decreed that judgment will come upon the earth?
2. Who of the earth's inhabitants will be included in God's judgment?
3. What does the "everlasting covenant" mean to the world today?
4. How do men break the "everlasting covenant"?
5. When will the Great Tribulation come upon the earth?
6. What will happen to those who take the mark of the beast during the Tribulation?
7. Describe some of the terrible conditions that will exist in the earth throughout the Tribulation.
8. How is it possible to escape from the Great Tribulation?English