Tag Archives: tribulation

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Sometimes, unwilling to accept that we may cause our unhealthiness or unfortunate situations or feelings such as anger, depression, or sadness, we seek to blame someone else—even evil spirits or the devil. This is unfortunate because it allows us to ignore our responsibilities and repentance and growth as we deal with difficult people or circumstances.

The idea of blaming Satan is a weird one in my experiences. Here’s why:

  1. Christians who are in the middle of strife and the trials of life are often quick to say something like, “I must be doing something right because Satan’s after me!” Blaming Satan gives him way too much credit! Bad stuff happens all the time because we live in a broken, fallen world; we make bad choices; other people make bad choices; stuff just happens.

Another problem with blaming Satan for our misfortunes is that we’re essentially stating that God cannot protect us from him. He does look around for weak and unfaithful Christians to destroy them:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.—1 Peter 5:8-9.

But God is more than capable and willing to aid those who resist the temptation to sin and Satan!

  • On the other hand, I’ve heard Christians say this to other Christians who are suffering: “You must not be living right, or these things wouldn’t happen to you!” Funny how things change when the table is turned! Essentially, the faulty thinking is that Christians will be well and prosperous if they’re faithful and that the supposed unfaithful Christians will have trouble. This bad theology could not be further from the truth!!

God never promised that we’d be wealthy or well. The sun shines on the righteous and the wicked; the wicked prosper; we left God’s provision and protection a long time ago in Eden. He will, however, help us persevere as we go through trials and keep our eye on Him.

. . . knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.—Romans 5:3-5.

If you believe that you’re being troubled by a demonic spirit of ‘this or that’ or Satan, just remember that everyone who genuinely has given themselves to God through faith and obedience has nothing to worry about—we’ll remain beyond Satan’s reach. In addition to God’s protection, we also have wisdom and guidance through His Spirit.

Next week, we’ll take a look at healthy biblical finances in For the Love of Money.

Blessings and peace,

Ron Braley

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part IX

 “The Tribulation is Seven Years of Bad Luck – and we’ll be raptured before it Starts!”

Misquote: We’ll escape the 7-year-long Tribulation!There are two inherent problems with this statement.

1. The ‘great tribulation’ will last for no more than 3.5 years (the last half of a remaining 7-year period yet to be fulfilled). This great tribulation will be the wrath of the Antichrist.

2. True followers of our Christ will have to endure it until we’re ‘rescued’ and God’s wrath begins. What follows will guide you in a short study of this and is a reiteration of an earlier blog titled, “Wrath of Con”.

Ask the average Christian in America about the ‘Great Tribulation’ and, if anything, they’ll probably tell you it’s “seven years of really bad stuff from the Antichrist and God after Christians have been raptured!

But, study what the prophets, the apostles, and our Christ said about this ‘time like never seen before or will ever be seen again’ (e.g. Joel 2:2, Matthew 24:21, etc.) and you’ll find a truer and much more sobering version of this terrible time to come. Here are some key facts about the coming Great Tribulation:

  • It will be no longer than 3.5 years and will occupy the last half of the last seven years of the overall timeframe Daniel spoke of for Israel to come to repentance and reconciliation with God (Daniel 9:24-27).
  • This will be the time of the Antichrist’s wrath against God’s people – Israel and those who hold to the testimony of our Christ (Daniel 7:19-25, Matthew 24:15-21, Revelation Chapters 11, 12:9-17, and 13, etc.). The Antichrist and his cohort will con God’s people if possible through lies and deceit (e.g. Revelation 13:12-14). How will this happen? Because of shallow or non-existent faith made possible through ignorance fueled by a lack of exposure to the Scripture, discipleship, etc. necessary for building faith.
  • The time of the Antichrist’s con and wrath will be cut short by the Christ’s appearing. His presence will earmark two important events identified as ‘harvests’ in Scripture: the gathering of Jesus’ followers (e.g. Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 14:12-16) and the beginning of God’s wrath against what and who remain on the earth afterward (e.g. Revelation 6:12-17 and 14:17-20).

So, the wrath of the one who will con will come in the form of the Great Tribulation. After nearly 3.5 years, the faithful will find relief as they’re taken to heaven for the ‘marriage supper’. God’s incredible wrath against the earth and her inhabitants will end the Antichrist’s wrath and great con.

Would you be able to resist being conned by those who say you don’t have to worry about any of this or by the Antichrist and his cohort in the last days? If not, waste no time in learning truth that leads to salvation!

For a very comprehensive and detailed study of this very important topic, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Next week, we’ll look at more great examples of personal interpretation and bad hermeneutics as we continue to explore common misquotes and abuses of Scripture. The next misquoted or misunderstood topic: “God is Love!

The Wrath of Con . . .

Ask the average Christian in America about the ‘Great Tribulation’ and, if anything, they’ll probably tell you it’s “seven years of really bad stuff from the Antichrist and God after Christians have been raptured!

But, study what the prophets, the apostles, and our Christ said about this ‘time like never seen before or will ever be seen again’ (e.g. Joel 2:2, Matthew 24:21, etc.) and you’ll find a truer and much more sobering version of this terrible time to come. Here are some key facts about the coming Great Tribulation:

  • It will be no longer than 3.5 years and will occupy the last half of the last seven years of the overall timeframe Daniel spoke of for Israel to come to repentance and reconciliation with God (Daniel 9:24-27).
  • This will be the time of the Antichrist’s wrath against God’s people – Israel and those who hold to the testimony of our Christ (Daniel 7:19-25, Matthew 24:15-21, Revelation Chapters 11, 12:9-17, and 13, etc.). The Antichrist and his cohort will con God’s people if possible through lies and deceit (e.g. Revelation 13:12-14). How will this happen? Because of shallow or non-existent faith made possible through ignorance fueled by a lack of exposure to the Scripture, discipleship, etc. necessary for building faith.
  • The time of the Antichrist’s con and wrath will be cut short by the Christ’s appearing. His presence will earmark two important events identified as ‘harvests’ in Scripture: the gathering of Jesus’ followers (e.g. Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 14:12-16) and the beginning of God’s wrath against what and who remain on the earth afterward (e.g. Revelation 6:12-17 and 14:17-20).

So, the wrath of the one who will con will come in the form of the Great Tribulation. After nearly 3.5 years, the faithful will find relief as they’re taken to heaven for the ‘marriage supper’. God’s incredible wrath against the earth and her inhabitants will end the Antichrist’s wrath and great con.

Would you be able to resist being conned by those who say you don’t have to worry about any of this or by the Antichrist and his cohort in the last days? If not, waste no time in learning the truth that leads to salvation!

For a very comprehensive and detailed study of this very important topic, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The Sign of the End

If there will be a single significant sign immediately preceding the gathering of Jesus’ followers (dead and alive) and the wrath of God against the remaining population of earth, it’ll be a complete darkening of the natural lights. Ancient prophets foretold this. Jesus confirmed it to His disciples on the Mount of Olives in about 27 AD and in the Revelation given to John in roughly 90 AD. It’s the one event that will signal the end of the greatest time of tribulation known to humankind. The complete darkening will also be a clear indication that the time of harvests has come: the gathering of Jesus’ followers and preparation of the rest for destruction.

Foretelling of the darkening that will precede God’s great wrath:

 I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. —Joel 2:30-31.

Jesus’ confirmation that the darkening will precede God’s wrath:

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, . . .  Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man . . . said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” —Revelation 6:12-17.

Jesus’ revelation that the darkening will also precede the gathering of His true followers:

But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. . . .  and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY . . . and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. —Matthew 24:29-31.

‘Lights out’ will mean salvation for some and destruction for others. Which will it be for you?

 

 

War in Heaven: Past or Future?

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. . . . And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan . . . And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman . . . So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. —Revelation 12:7-17.

Despite unnecessary awe and lots of misinformation, the Revelation given to John in about 90 AD is fairly simple, straightforward, and sequential. It’s not the to-be-avoided mystery most would like to make it out to be. It’s also not to be used out of context and out of sequence to support manmade doctrine. One example places the war in heaven seen in Chapter 12 at the very beginning of time before Adam and Eve.

This position is based on taking Isaiah 14:12-14 out of context. Isaiah chapter 14 is an apocalyptic writing that contains an unveiling of the last days. In it, Isaiah witnesses the end-times Antichrist (labeled as the “Assyrian” in a near-far prophecy), Satan’s influence on him, and his eventual destruction. Isaiah sees something that will happen in the future. John’s vision in Revelation Chapter 12 confirms this and puts the war in the heavenly realm in the context of the beginning of the future three-and-a-half year authority of the Antichrist. During this time, he’ll persecute and kill God’s people – both Jew and Christian.

So, if the war in heaven hasn’t happened yet, does Satan still have access to heaven? Yes! We understand that he lost his authority as one of the archangels created by God.  However, he has had, and still has, access to heaven. You only have to look at the Book of Job and John’s Revelation (i.e. Revelation 12:10) for confirmation.

Need more? Let’s look at the sequence of the Revelation and the war’s position within it. Here’s a breakdown of the entire apocalyptic book:

Chapters 1-5: Introduction by John, letters from Christ to 7 churches of Asia Minor, and an invitation to heaven to watch the end-times events.

Chapter 6: Seals 1-6 depicting birth pangs and Great Tribulation ending with a complete darkening of the sun, moon, and stars (see Matthew 24:29-31 for corroborating information!).

Chapter 7:  Protection of the 144,000 of the Jewish remnant against God’s imminent judgments; bride of Christ seen in heaven after the gathering at the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars.

Chapters 8-9: Seal 7; God’s trumpet judgments 1-6.

Chapter 10: Seventh trumpet judgment, which ends the 3.5-year reign of the Antichrist.

Chapters 11-13: Three-and-one-half-year period of Great Tribulation detailed (Chapter 11 = 3.5 year witness of God’s chosen two; Chapter 12 = 3.5 year persecution by Satan through the Antichrist after losing the war in heaven; Chapter 13 = details on the 3.5 year reign of the Antichrist).

Chapter 14-18: all things that will happen at about the end of the three-and-a-half-year Great Tribulation or shortly thereafter by the end of the trumpet judgments; Seven vial judgments that will complete God’s wrath; Description (and destruction) of figurative Babylon near the end of God’s wrath; Antichrist kingdom details.

Chapter 19-22: Armageddon at the end of God’s wrath; marriage supper of our Christ and His Thousand-year reign; great judgment following Christ’s kingdom; New heaven and earth after the judgment; Final admonishments and closure.

Rather than take a chunk out the middle of an otherwise sequential Revelation, let’s take it all together and in context. The future will reveal a defeated Satan, resulting reign of the Antichrist, and darkening of the natural lights after about 3.5 years. You may want to check out my 2011 book titled, “Finding the End of the World” (available from ronbraley.com, Amazon, or Barnes&Noble) to learn more about what the Bible and history have to say on the subject of the end of the world to include the war in heaven.