Key points of the tribulation are discussed.
"I know that God is not happy about my lifestyle," a young woman said recently. "My parents don't approve either. I still believe in God, and I do plan to give my life to Him someday . . . after I've made enough money."
When asked how much money would be enough, she replied, "I'll know it when I've made it."
This young woman had been raised in a Christian home and had grown up in church. Although she had heard the gospel many times, she had never committed her life to Christ. Now, involved in making pornography, she believes that she has plenty of time to make the decision that will determine her eternal destiny.
Easy to Put off until Later
Many people put off accepting Christ, believing that they have time to do so.
Often, they state, "I want to have some fun first." However, they have no guarantee that they will live beyond their next breath. Some believe that if they miss the Rapture of the Church, they can still accept Christ during the Tribulation. However, they seem to be ignorant of what life will be like during the Tribulation.
The Tribulation Will Produce Unequaled Death and Destruction. The Tribulation will be a time unlike any other. "'There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again'" (Matthew 24:21). The Bible says that if the Lord did not shorten those days no one would survive (Mark 13:20).* Terrible plagues and war will decimate millions and will produce widespread famine and starvation (Revelation 6:8; 9:4–6, 10, 18–19; 11:6).
The Antichrist will have the "power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other" (Revelation 6:4). At least half of the earth's population will die or be killed during the Tribulation (Revelation 6:8; 9:15, 18). Currently, the population is 6.6 billion.*Therefore, at least 3.3 billion people will die. In contrast, the total estimated human loss of life caused by World War II was roughly 72 million people.*
It Will Be Harder to Hear God's Voice
With the sudden absence of the Church, Satanic deception will become more powerful and more difficult to resist. "'Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people'" (Matthew 24:11). Through the Antichrist and the False Prophet, Satan will display "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and . . . every sort of evil that deceives" (2 Thessalonians 2:9–10; Revelation 13:11–17).
Widespread immorality and rampant lawlessness will cause formerly ethical people to abandon their values. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12). "Scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires" (2 Peter 3:3). The pressure to embrace paganism will be greater than ever before.
It Will Be More Difficult to Accept Christ
For those who previously put off accepting Christ, the resulting hardness of their hearts will make it more difficult, or perhaps impossible, for them to accept Him during the Tribulation. For those who reject Christ, God will send "them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie" of the enemy (2 Thessalonians 2:10–11).
With mentors and "fathers in the faith" having been taken to heaven in the Rapture, new believers will miss the wisdom, prayers, and encouragement of mature believers.New believers will miss the wisdom
Under the ruthless dictatorship of the Antichrist, violence, war, and destruction will exceed that of any previous times. Eventually, he will command that everyone must worship him. Those who refuse to do so will be executed. He will "exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God" (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Everyone on earth will "worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).
Those Who Accept Christ Will Face Persecution
Those who accept Christ during the Tribulation will face an unprecedented intensity of persecution; many will be martyred. Trusted family members and friends will betray each other. "'Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death'" (Matthew 10:21). "'Many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other'" (Matthew 24:10).
Those who refuse to take the mark of the beast will experience great deprivation and hardship. The Antichrist willforce everyone "to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:16–17).
The Nazis murdered 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and 5 million other people.*Their merciless cruelty to those in the concentration camps appalled the rest of the world. Under Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge regime killed more than 3 million Cambodians.*The level of cruelty under the Antichrist's reign will far exceed that of those merciless regimes.
We have no guarantee that we will live tomorrow; we could die today. If you have not yet accepted Christ, consider the following:
Would you like to have God's help and peace in your next crisis?
Would you like to have His assurance that you will spend eternity in heaven?
Would you like your family and those you care about to have peace when you die?
Do you really want to wait until after the Rapture to accept Christ?
Every human being will eventually acknowledge Jesus as God and Lord. "It is written: '"As surely as I live," says the Lord, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God."' So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:11–12; Isaiah 45:23). All will come before His throne to be judged. If you wait until then, it will be too late to change your eternal destiny.
© by Howard W. Stevens
*All Scripture verses are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
*"Asia Pacific's 700 Least-Reached People Groups," Today's Pentecostal Evangel (May 06, 2007): 31.