Why There Must Be A Great Tribulation


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Coming through the Book of Revelation we have talked about the Church, the Rapture of the Church, and a terrible time on the earth that has yet to come called the Great Tribulation.

Why must there be a Great Tribulation?

Before we go into Revelation 11 let’s review what we learned last week.

To understand chapter 11 you have to understand chapter 10.

I hope you weren’t asleep as we talked about chapter 10. In chapter 10 we are in a period of time before the Seventh Angel blows the Seventh Trumpet. Another mighty angel came to earth – we saw last week – with a little bookin his hand. John was told to get that little book (the Word of God) and eat the book– let it become a part of his life. Then God told John something we’re going to read together now.

Revelation 10:10-11 (KJV) And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

Revelation 11:1-2 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

John must preach the Word that God has given him.
An angel gave John the Gospel, but John must share it.
An angel told the shepherds that Christ was born, but they had to tell others.

Right after John receives his commission to preach the Word the Lord gives him …

Revelation 11:1 … a reed like unto a rod:

Often in Scripture when preachers preached God had them use props or illustrations. God gives John a reed like unto a ROD. A REED is used to measure things. It is first mentioned in Ezekiel 40:5, and is used twice in Revelation, here and in chapter 21:15-16. The length of the Reed is about 6 cubits or about 10 feet long. What is interesting about this “measure” is that it is a reed like unto a ROD.

Now what is a ROD? A shepherd had two tools that he kept close to hand, both of which he used to tend his sheep. The shepherd had a STAFF. The staff was a long heavy stick with a crook or hook on one end. Sheep are often foolish, and would often get into places where they trapped themselves. Sometimes sheep ran TOWARD danger instead of running AWAY. In cases where the sheep were trapped or running in the wrong direction, the shepherd would use the crook end of the staff to hook or grab the sheep by the leg, to pull them from harm or stop it from going toward harm. This was the STAFF. But the shepherd also carried a ROD. Barclay writes:

He [the shepherd] had his rod and his staff. … He carried the rod at his belt. It was a stout piece of wood, perhaps three feet long, with a lump of wood the size of an orange at one end of it. With this the shepherd fought the battles of the flock, using it to drive off wild beasts and to defend the flock against the robbers who would steal the sheep.”

The ROD was a weapon used to strike the enemy. When the Psalmist David wrote of the Lord he wrote:

Psalms 23:1,4 (KJV) … The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. … 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The sheep – the Child of God – is comforted both by God’s STAFF (which guides us) and ROD (which protects us). Sometimes the shepherd used the Rod on his own sheep. If a sheep kept doing dangerous things then the shepherd would resort to the Rod. The Bible tells us that God disciplines His people.

Hebrews 12:5-6, 8 (KJV)… My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. … 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

TheRODis used to stop an enemy or punish the wayward. We are told that …

Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod:

John was given a REED (used to measure things)like unto a ROD (used for punishment or defense). What is John to do with this Reed/Rod?

Revelation 11:1 … Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar,
and them that worship therein.

John was to measure the Temple of God with this instrument of punishment. Now who worships in the Temple of God? In the New Testament the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. With the beginning of the Church Age the TEMPLE is no longer a building where you worship, but each believer in Christ. The Scripture says:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

In New Testament, every believer is a living and moving Temple of God. The Holy Spirit indwells you, and you are to walk by the Spirit. But in the Age of Israel, they had a building they called a Temple. Within that Temple was the Holy of Holies, and in that Holy of Holies, God stayed.

John was told to take this Reed/Rod and “measure” three things:

The Temple
The Altar
The Worshipers therein

There Is A Great Tribulation Because Israel Rejected Christ

John must preach the truths found in the “Little Book”, and this “Little Book” speaks from start to finish of Christ. It was Christ Who – working with both Father and Spirit – created the world.

John 1:10 (KJV) HE WAS IN THE WORLD, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God, and was God (John 1:1-3).

  • The Temple Is Measured.

Israel had a Temple, but the Temple was not what wanted His people to have. God wanted His people TO BE A TEMPLE, resurrected and lifted up to worship Him. The Temple was a place where you went to be with God, but God wanted to be wit His people ALWAYS. He told His Israel:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

God wanted to stay with His people. But until Christ came and made a way through His Blood no one could be united to God in that way. Sinful and imperfect people – YES, I MEAN YOU – cannot have the indwelling God with them always. Yet Christ made a way through the veil of His flesh so that God could be with us. We are told in Hebrews:

Hebrews 10:19-25 (KJV) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having a high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Christians come together as a Church today to worship God and love one another. But the Jews were forced to the Temple to worship God. Why? Because Christ had not yet come. But Jesus HAS COME. The Bible declares that He came for the Jews first, THEN the gentiles. Jesus Christ ….

John 1:11 … came unto his own, and HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT.

John is given a Reed/Rod to measure the Temple – that which is rebuilt during the Great Tribulation by Israel. This rebuilt Temple is INSUFFICIENT, just as it has always been INSUFFICIENT. God does not want a people just to walk with Him when in the Temple.

Thus the Reed/Rod measures the Temple and declares it NOT UP TO SNUFF.

  • The Altar Is Measured

When Jesus came to this earth He came to do the Father’s will. In the Temple was the Altar of God. Before Christ came the Jew was to sacrifice an animal without spot or blemisheach year to cover sin. But there’s a problem with this. God tells us in Hebrews:

Hebrews 10:1-10 (KJV) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices, there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Law which made the Temple also made the Altar. The Altar had to be visited over and over again because the sacrifice of animals – no matter how pure – were insufficient to pay for the sin of man. Do you know why?

Because MAN is NOT an ANIMAL.

I don’t care what the godless Darwin and his worshipers declare,

Mankind was made apart from animals in the image of God. No animal can pay for our sins. Sin came by Man, so a perfect Man must pay for our sin. The only perfect Man Who ever was is Jesus Christ.

Christ was born of a Virgin.
His Body created by the Holy Spirit.
He never sinned.
But came forth for one reason – to pay for our sins.

Galatians 4:4-6 (KJV) But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

The Altar of the Temple is measured with the Reed/Rod of John because human works are measured and found wanting. Christ came to be the Lamb without spot or blemish to save us from our sins.In the Tribulation, Israel will worship at their rebuilt Temple, but the Altar they sacrifice on will be insufficient. At one point the Anti-Christ will enter the Temple and defile it by offering a sacrifice to himself on the Altar. The Altar is insufficient. Christ’s Blood has once and for all been shed, and presented to the Father for us in Heaven.

  • The Worshipers In The Temple Are Measured.

The Prophet Daniel foresaw that the Anti-Christ would rise up during the Tribulation and form an alliance with Israel. Daniel wrote:

Daniel 9:27 (KJV)27 And he {the Anti-Christ} shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:{a “week” is symbolic for a 7 year period) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The Temple will be rebuilt during the Great Tribulation or just before it by the Anti-Christ. Israel will worship in this Temple – a Christless and humanistic worship such as occurs in many American Churches today. John measures the worshipers. Without Christ, they are found wanting as well.

Revelation 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

The Court of the Gentiles is not measured. Why?

Because the Great Tribulation is a time where ISRAEL is measured, punished, and trodden underfoot because they have not come to Christ for salvation. For 3 ½ years Israel was blessed by going along with the world and the Anti-Christ. But the last 3 ½ years (forty and two months) Jerusalem shall be TRED UNDER FOOT by the unbelieving Gentiles. This reminds me of what Christ warned:

Matthew 5:13 (KJV) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and TO BE TRODDEN UNDER FOOT OF MEN.

Israel rejected Christ and so they are trodden underfoot of the Gentiles. Our power and strength is to be in Christ.

The heat of the Great Tribulation willrefine Israel, separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, and the silver from the dross. The Great Tribulation was foreseen by Daniel as the seventieth week(a prophetic “Week” is Seven Years) or the Seventieth Seven Year Periodprior to the return of Christ:

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Daniel saw the Great Tribulation as a time “determined upon Thy people and Thy Holy City (Jerusalem)”. This time of Tribulation would “finished the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness”. For years Israel as a nation has rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this God will allow an anti-Christ to rise up, and Israel to be afflicted. This ROD SHAPED LIKE A REED will not kill Israel but it will whip the nation. The Temple of God, the Altar, and those that worship therein will be spanked by this rod. This means that no unbelieving Jew will escape suffering during this time.Our Lord Jesus spoke of this terrible time for Israel in

Matthew 24:14-21 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation-the anti-Christ, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

The anti-Christ – one that Israel thought they could trust in – will rise up and STAND IN THE HOLY PLACE. He will be in the Holy of Holies, a place that only the High Priest should have gone. When the anti-Christ does this he does it with the intent of taking over Israel’s place of worship along with the nation itself. Jesus told the Jews “when that time come – RUN! Run to the mountains and hide, for THIS is the Great Tribulation!” Going back to our focal text we see that “the temple of God, the altar, and them that worship therein” are measured – disciplined by this Rod. Every unbelieving JEW will be under discipline. This doesn’t mean that the Gentiles will not suffer. They will suffer and have suffered. BUT the focus is on Israel, not on the Gentile nations. We read:

it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city (Jerusalem)shall they tread under foot forty and two months”

The Tribulation is a seven year period – the Seventieth Week of Daniel. The last forty-two months or 3 ½ years when unbelieving Israel shall be under intensified discipline. The Holy City (Jerusalem) shall be tread underfoot by the Gentiles. The height of this discipline (which comes from the Gentiles, by the way) shall be when the anti-Christ sets himself up to be worshiped in the Temple. Paul wrote of this in :

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8-10 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. …8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. ..

The Great Tribulation must come because Israel will not repent. But God will send two witnesses and 144,000 Hebrew Evangelists to Israel and the world to share the Gospel of Christ with all.

The Two Witnesses Will Preach

Revelation 11:3-5 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Who are these “Two Witnesses”? They belong to God. The Mighty Angel – who came from Heaven and represents God Almighty – calls these Two Witnesses “my two witnesses”.We are told that “they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth”. That figure is equal to 42 months of thirty days or 3 ½ years. These Witnesses will stand and issue a Gospel call to the world – and to Israel in particular – as she suffers 3 ½ years of persecution under the anti-Christ. Who are these two Witnesses?

aThese Two Witnesses Are Olive Trees. In Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks to us Gentiles and tells us that

Romans 11:17-18 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them, partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Romans 11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Israel is “the Olive Tree” and the Gentiles, saved by faith in Christ, are “the wild Olive Tree”. We Gentiles were grafted into the promises that God made to Israel because Israel rejected the Christ. Israel is “The Olive Tree”. These two witnesses are “Two Olive Trees”, two Jews who have received the Gospel of salvation.

bThese Two Witnesses Are “Two Candlesticks Standing Before The God Of The Earth. God is watching them, and they are standing – firm and immovable – on the Word of God. They are His Ambassadors and under His protection. They are mortal men.Just as candlesticks burn down as they give light, these men burn down as they give light. Their lives are finite – but they trust in God. Though only two men, they stand up for God in a lost and Satan following world. They refuse to compromise …. even unto death.

cThese Two Witnesses Use No Weapons For Defense Other Than The WordThat They Have Been Given. The text states “fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed”.They use no weapons other than the Word of God.

Who are these witnesses? The Bible does not tell us who they are for a reason. We can speculate on who they are. Some have suggested Moses and Elijah, others Enoch and Elijah since these two men never died. All of this is just speculation. The text doesn’t tell us who the two witnesses are, BUT it tells us whatSpirit these men have.

Revelation 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

These witnesses have power to shut Heaven so that it will not rain, much like Elijah did when he prophesied. They also have the power to turn water to blood and bring plagues, much like Moses did. This does not make them Moses and Elijah, it just tells us that they have the same power that God gave to these great Prophets of old. Though they will be doing a hard job, God will be with them.

God never sends the equipped, He equips those He sends. If God gives you a job to do He will be with you. Trust Him, no matter how hard that job might be.

God bless you all!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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