End Times Series #6 – Second Half of the Tribulation
By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
Since it has been a few weeks since our last installment, let’s do a quick review. All those of who are born-again (have received Jesus) were taken up with Jesus in the rapture prior to the beginning of the seven year tribulation. During the first half of the tribulation, the anti-christ will emerge and bring peace to the world. He then forms a one world government and religion. God sends two super witnesses to speak the truth for 42 months. Many come to know the Lord Jesus; these known as the tribulation saints. It’s likely this is the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Joel 2:28-29. God’s wrath begins with the six trumpet judgments. The 2 witnesses complete their task and are executed by the anti-christ, but God resurrects them 3-1/2 days later. The anti-christ is either fatally wounded or stages his own death, which ends the first half of the tribulation.
In this installment, we will be discussing the 13 main events of the 2nd half of the tribulation.
"And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." Rev. 12:7-12 (NIV)
1. God cuts off Satan and casts him to earth – physically bound to earth.
It is clear from Rev. 12:7-12 that there is another war in heaven and Satan is cast to and physically bound to the earth. He no longer has access to the third heaven, nor can he accuse the brethren (us).
Bible scholars are split between how this happens. Some believe that Satan will inhabit the dead body of the anti-christ or possess the live anti-christ and operate in that body for the balance of the tribulation.
The second option is that Satan remains a spirit being and continues to manipulate the anti-christ. He stages a fake assassination and resurrection in order to deceive the people into believing he is God. With Satan (the dragon) now bound to earth, he forms an un-holy trinity with the anti-christ and false prophet (first and second beast).
At this point in the tribulation, Satan is really angry and knows that his time is short (Rev. 12:12), so he ramps up the attack on mankind. It also appears that God gives him authority over the earth for another forty-two months (Rev. 13:5), which is the balance of the tribulation. With time drawing to a close, God still wants people to have a choice. Persecution of God’s people increases dramatically at the beginning of the 2nd half of the tribulation.
2. The anti-christ breaks the covenant with Israel.
Daniel 9:27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.’
The anti-christ will break the peace treaty with Israel and will stop the sacrificial offerings at the temple.
3. The false prophet builds a statue of the anti-christ, as he declares himself to be God.
Rev. 13:14-15 “He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.
Daniel 12:11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.”
This statue will be in the image of the anti-christ (much as Nebuchadnezzar did) – probably made from pure gold and is somehow given the ability to speak, in order to further deceive the people into believing that the anti-christ is God. People are forced to worship the image or be killed.
4. God provides a place of safety for His chosen ones.
Rev. 12:6 “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”
The woman represents the Jews, so it appears that God prepares a place for them in the desert and supernaturally protects them for the remainder of the tribulation. Although the Bible doesn’t clearly explain, it is possible that many gentiles will be among those protected. This is another example of God’s great mercy.
5. The anti-christ begins to rebuild Babylon. The location is likely Jerusalem where the temple is located.
Babylon was the greatest city in history – the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar were the only people to ever rule the world. This new Babylon represents both a great city and a world-wide economy controlled by the anti-christ. We know that Babylon is rebuilt because in Rev. 18:2 an angel tells the people of earth that Babylon has fallen. We know that this refers to a rebuilt Babylon because the prophet Jeremiah predicted a sudden destruction of Babylon in Jeremiah 51:8 and Isaiah predicted that Babylon would be destroyed in the same way as Sodom and Gomorrah in Isaiah 13:19. The original Babylon was destroyed over hundreds of years and was never rebuilt.
6. The false prophet requires people to take his mark or die.
Rev. 13:16-18 “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17so 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. 18This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.”
This mark will be administered to the right hand or forehead. It will be the name of the beast or the number of his name, which is 666.
We can’t be sure what this mark will look like, but we can give an educated guess. Many think that it will be a micro-chip planted just under the skin, but Rev. 13 says that the mark will be placed on the forehead or right hand. This rules out a micro-chip, as it would be planted under the skin. So let’s look at a very interesting theory.
In Leviticus 19:28, God told the Jews not to tattoo their bodies, so wouldn’t it make sense that Satan would use a tattoo? In March of 1999, inventor Thomas W. Heeter received a patent - #5,878,155 described as “a method for verifying human identity during electronic sales transactions.”
Here is the actual description from the patent:
“A method is presented for facilitating sales transactions by electronic media. A bar code or a design is tattooed on an individual. Before the sales transaction can be consummated, the tattoo is scanned with a scanner. Characteristics about the scanned tattoo are compared to the characteristics about other tattoos stored on a computer database in order to verify the identity of the buyer. Once verified, the seller may be authorized to debit the buyer’s electronic bank account in order to consummate the transaction.”
This would enable people who had chosen to follow the anti-christ to take his image, name, and number. Some would be quite brazen and have it placed on their forehead and the rest on their right hand.
No one will be able to buy and sell in the anti-christ’s new economic system without the mark. Those who refuse the mark are executed – it appears by guillotine. Those who accept the mark are selling their soul to the devil and rejecting God forever. It is an eternal decision. It will not be made by accident.
Today’s Christians need not be concerned about accidentally taking the mark, as this will not happen until after the church is raptured.
7. God sends angels with final warnings.
2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Here we are in the heat of the great tribulation, the anti-christ has just issued a proclamation that anyone who doesn’t take his mark will be unable to buy and sell and when found will be executed. God shows His unending mercy by sending three angels with final warnings. He is truly a patient God, not wanting anyone to perish.
Here are the three warnings:
a. Give God glory, for the end is near (cartoon of guy with sign)
Rev. 14:7 “He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
b. Babylon would fall.
Rev. 14:8 “A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
c. Anyone who takes the mark of the beast will be tormented for eternity.
Rev. 14:9-10 “A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.”
8. Final soul harvest.
Rev. 14:14-16 “I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." 16So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.”
Since the sickle is a symbol of the harvest, it appears that many will heed God’s warnings, turn to the Lord for salvation, refuse the mark of the beast and be executed.
At this point, we enter the final and terrible wrath of God on all those who have the mark of the beast. It appears that either all believers are either dead or in the protected area in the desert or are supernaturally protected from the final judgments.
9. Final wrath of God – Seven Bowl Judgments
First Bowl - Ugly and painful sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast. Rev. 16:2
Second Bowl - Oceans turned to blood, killing every living sea creature. Rev. 16:3
Third Bowl - Rivers and springs turned to blood –all water polluted. Rev. 16:4
Fourth Bowl - Sun given the power to scorch people with fire. Rev. 16:8-9
Fifth Bowl - Kingdom of the anti-christ plunged into total darkness – men gnawed their tongues in agony. Rev. 16:10-11
Sixth Bowl - River Euphrates dried up to prepare for the arrival of the kings from the East. Rev. 16:12-16
Three demonic spirits that looked like frogs are released from the mouths of the demonic trinity. They go to deceive through miraculous signs and gather the kings of the east for the battle of Armageddon. Rev. 16:12-16
The scripture references the “kings of the east.” The word translated as east is helios, which means sun. So this could be interpreted as the kings of the rising sun (since the sun rises in the east), which would likely be Japan and China.
China has 1.8 billion people and reports say that they already have an army of well over 200 million. It is also a very anti-Christian country.
It appears that a Chinese army of millions will be joined by armies from Japan to meet Jesus when he arrives with the saints. They will travel a path that would normally be blocked by the mighty Euphrates River, but it will be dried up by this judgment.
g. Seventh Bowl poured into the air – voice from heaven says “it is done.” Flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a severe earthquake. Rev. 16:17-21
An earthquake stronger than any in history splits the city in three parts and the cities of the nations collapse. Every island and mountain disappears. 100 pound hailstones begin to fall. Throughout the seven bowl judgments, man continues to curse God.
10. Second part of the second coming of Christ.
Zechariah 14:1-9 “1 A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. 2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. 6 On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. 7 It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime-a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. 8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. 9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.”
Rev. 19:11-21 “11I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Unlike the rapture, where Jesus meets the dead and living in the air, this time he leads the righteous out of heaven and touches the earth. His power literally splits the Mount of Olives, creating a great valley
11. Battle of Armageddon, which appears to be a four-part campaign:
a. Jesus first goes to Edom to rescue Israel from the anti-christ. (Isaiah 63:1-6)
b. Valley of Megiddo – defeats the armies of the world. Rev. 16:12-16. Blood will flow as high as a horses bridle for 180 miles. Rev. 14:19-20
c. Defeats the remainder of God’s enemies in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which means the Valley of Judgment. Joel 3:1-2 and 9-17. Rev. 14:14-20.
c. Jerusalem to defeat the anti-christ’s army who is attempting to wipe out the holy city. Zech. 12:1-9 and Rev. 16:17-21.
All four battles will be swiftly and decisively won without any physical fighting. Rev. 19:21 says that the sword that comes from the mouth of Jesus, which is the spoken Word, will strike down all evil – all who have the mark of the beast will be destroyed.
12. Anti-christ and false prophet captured
Thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night for all eternity. Rev. 19:20.
13. Dragon captured
A powerful angel binds Satan with a great chain and throws him into the Abyss, locking and sealing the entry for 1,000 years. Rev. 20:1-3.
This ends the tribulation and begins the Millennium or thousand year reign of Christ, which we will discuss in the next installment.
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rod’s latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.