Last week we talked about the 'Judgment Seat of Christ' and the 'Marriage of the Lamb'. These events will take place after the rapture, will involve only believers, and will take place in Heaven. This evening we will continue our 'Countdown to the Millennium' series. Tonight, we want to consider what will happen on earth after the rapture. This will not be the end of the world! The world will still be here and so will millions of lost people. The dead unbelievers will remain in their graves until after the 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ. Living unbelievers who have rejected the Truth will be left to face the Great Tribulation.
The tribulation will be a seven-year period of time on this earth. It will separate the rapture from the Second Coming of Christ. While believers are standing before Christ and then celebrating the Marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven, things on earth will go from bad to worse. It will be an awful time of judgment on an unbelieving world.
I. The Amazement of the World.
A. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.
1. These are words that God used to describe how quickly the rapture will take place.
2. There will be no time for farewell notes to be left behind for loved ones to read.
3. At Christ's appearing in the air every believer will disappear from the face of the earth.
B. Chaos will describe that moment here on earth.
1. Driver-less cars, buses, trucks, and trains.
2. Airplanes crashing due to missing crew members.
3. Mass confusion of the radio and TV news media.
4. Numerous and uncontrollable fires and looting.
5. Rampaging lawlessness, crime, and mobs that the remaining police forces will not be able to control.
6. Families terrified and in shock over missing family members and babies.
7. Church buildings will still be standing, but believers will no longer assemble there.
8. Business and industry will come to a standstill.
9. Governments and schools will have to be reorganized or closed down.
10. The chaotic atmosphere that will be present on that day will set the stage for the man of the hour ... the anti-Christ!
II. The Hopeless Condition of Those Who are Left Behind.
A. It Would Be Nice...
1. To think that all of those who have rejected Christ would suddenly realize that they were wrong and that the Christians were right?
2. To think that they would repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.
3. To think that there would be no need for judgment to fall upon mankind.
4. It might be nice, but that isn't what God's Word says will happen!
B. Notice: 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
1. God's Word is not unclear nor is it difficult to understand.
2. God will send a "strong delusion".
a. "That they should believe a lie".
b. "That they all might be damned"
3. "...He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." cf Jn. 3:36b
4. After the rapture, there is no hope for those who have heard the truth but rejected it.
C. The believer will not go through the tribulation period.
1. The tribulation period is the 70th week of Daniel. cf Da. 9:24-27
a. The first 69 weeks had to do with the nation of Israel, and so does the 70th week.
b. We are not a replacement for the nation of Israel, we are in the body of Christ!
2. The tribulation period is a time when the wrath of God is poured out upon an unbelieving world.
a. cf Rev. 1:19 is God's outline for the book of Revelation.
b. The things which thou hast seen: Chapter One.
c. The things which are: Chapters Two and Three (messages to seven local N.T. churches)
d. The things which shall be here- after: Chapters 4-22
e. Rev. 4:1, "...Come up hither..."
f. After this point there is no reference to the local church in the events that will take place on earth.
g. Our next mention is in Re. 19:14 when we return with Him "...clothed in fine linen, white and clean..."
3. We are promised that we will be "delivered from the wrath to come"
a. Note: 1 Thess. 1:9-10
b. "...Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
c. Note: Rev. 6:17, "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
III. God's Judgments Upon This World.
A. The Seal Judgments. cf Re. 6
1. Peace will be taken.
2. For the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation there will be a false peace that will be established by the anti-Christ.
3. That will end and there will be global war and tremendous casualties.
4. Cataclysmic events in the heavens, earthquakes, famine and hunger will be rampant here on earth.
B. The Trumpet Judgments. cf Re. 8
1. As the judgment continues to fall it intensifies.
2. More death and destruction from disasters.
3. Water supply poisoned death in the seas.
4. Demonic creatures torturing and tormenting people.
C. The Vial Judgment. cf Re. 16
1. Waters turned to blood and everything in the seas will die.
2. Scorching heat from the sun.
3. Huge storms of hailstones more earthquakes.
4. Mountains and islands will disappear and cities will crumble.
5. Men will gnaw their tongues due to pain and sores.
The seven-year tribulation will be a horrible experience. These things, and more, will come upon this earth and upon unbelieving men and women. There will be no second opportunity for people to be saved if they have rejected the gospel. We must reach folks today!