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 tribulation begins after the rapture and the judgment seat of Christ. How long after? – no one knows, but it doesn’t seem to be very long.
Revelation 4:1 is a type of the rapture and the tribulation begins in Revelation 6 with the Lamb opening the first seal.
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,
Come up hither,
and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals,
and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder,
one of the four beasts saying,
Come and see.
I am not going to dwell on tribulation events because I am not going to be here, and neither are you if you are saved. Verse-by-verse commentaries have already been written. Some are good and some are real doozies! Just know that it is literal and that it goes from beginning to ending a few times over in the last book of the Bible, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (not Revelations).
The tribulation is all about Israel, which has to be abused to the point that it can only cry out to God for help.
Antichrist will create a world of peace for 3.5 years, and then he will attack Israel for the remaining 3.5 years (called the “great tribulation”). He is planning to wipe it out so it can never rule and reign with Christ in the kingdom of heaven (on earth).
Israel will get down to a remnant, and then be rescued by Christ.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman,
and went to make war with the remnant of her seed,
which keep the commandments of God,
and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Then all the literal promises to Israel
will be literally fulfilled
in the literal kingdom of heaven
on the literal earth
for a literal thousand years
with the literal Son of God
as the literal king
ruling from the literal throne of David
in literal Jerusalem
with a metaphorical rod of iron.
Contrary to fictional movies and books, the unsaved will have virtually no chance of being saved during the tribulation.
God will allow them to be deceived by Antichrist:
II Thessalonians 2:8-12
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.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
They will take the mark of the beast so they can buy food:
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 and 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.
They will end up in flames:
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 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:
11 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 his name.
Those who believe will have to decline the mark of the beast and be killed to keep their salvation:
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
In other words, be willing to starve and also keep the faith and commandments of Jesus (faith plus works) while starving, awaiting decapitation:
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
A little more difficult than “Left Behind” guesswork! Not good, get saved now while it is free!
The great tribulation ends when Jesus comes back to take the kingdom that is rightfully his (Revelation 19:11 – 20:3).
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse;
and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True,
and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
The kingdom of heaven arrives!
The rapture, judgment seat of Christ, the tribulation, and the Second Coming of Christ predate the millennium, just like Revelation 19 is before Revelation 20.
You cannot possibly understand the kingdom of heaven and where you fit in if you are not pre-millennial. It will be a mystery to you and you will miss out on eternal rewards because you will not understand how to achieve them.
Here are some Revelation points to understand:
Revelation 1 is Jesus Christ the judge.
Revelation 2-3 is the literal judgment of tribulation churches, the judgment of literal first century churches in type, and also the spiritual phases of Christendom since Christ died in type.
Revelation 4 begins with a type of the rapture, rescuing the body of Christ from the tribulation to come.
Revelation 5 is preparation in heaven for the tribulation.
Revelation 6 white horse rider is not Jesus Christ; it is Antichrist.
Revelation 7 & 14 male virgin Jews are literally 144,000 male virgin Jews.
Revelation 9 monsters from hell are not helicopters. They are monsters from hell.
Revelation 11 witnesses are definitely Elijah and Moses.
Revelation 12 woman is Israel.
Revelation 13 Antichrist aka Beast is probably Judas Iscariot, Satan incarnate, just like Luke 22:3. He is the son of perdition (John 17:12 & II Thessalonians 2:3) and is waiting in his own place (Acts 1:25).
Revelation 14 & 16 are Armageddon.
Revelation 17 & 18 mystery is the ancient Babylonian religious system, adopted and retained and greatly enhanced by the Roman church. Babylon, the city, will be rebuilt and destroyed to fulfill scripture. The religion of Rome, whose foundation is ancient Babylonian religion, will also be destroyed.
Revelation 19 is “the end” and “that day” when Christ returns with his angels and his bride to take control of the kingdom.
Revelation 20 is the millennial kingdom, the defeat of Satan, and the great white throne judgment.
Revelation 21-22 is the eternal "day of God."
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