The Great Tribulation.
The beginning of birth pangs: heliogenic global warming?
The persecution of Christians in the Great Tribulation.
The Second Coming and the Rapture.
The Day of the Lord.
Revelation – classified by events.
The Day of the Wrath of God.
World history: a week with millennial days.
The Great Tribulation, as it is interpreted here at Immanuel.at, has already been
described in several documents on this website, to which readers are referred for further detail. Here
we would like just to highlight the interpretative path which led, in the final outcome, to those
insights which have made it possible for us to form an overview of these events of the Last Days.
(See also chapter 03: "The Great Tribulation.")
(See also discourse 61 "Is the Great Tribulation identical with the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of God?")
(See also chapter 01 "The 70th week of seven years - The Great Tribulation.")
(See also discourse 09: "The Great Tribulation: an affliction of the faithful, or of the whole world?")
The starting point for these reflections was a statement in the Revelation of John,
which – as so often in this kind of context – was somewhat "buried" in the text. In fact we only became
aware of its significance when certain pointers from other scriptural passages, which in themselves had
seemed equally mysterious and obscure, finally made sense when juxtaposed with this passage.
We are referring here to the statements to be found in Rev 7,9 and 7,14:
A great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and
peoples and tongues, these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.
Rev 7,9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which
no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the
throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 7,10 and they
cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
7,11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 7,12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen." 7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Rev 7, 9-14;
In this passage, two statements are particularly important. On the one hand there is the
indication that we have to do here with "a great multitude". And of course John refers here to the throne of God, so we must be in heaven. And now, here in Revelation, quite apart from the myriads of angels there are other groups as well (like the martyrs, or the bride of the Lamb) to whom this kind of description could also apply.
(See also discourse 15: "Who is the ‘bride of the Lamb’?")
But John specifies here with great precision – "from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues". So these can only be Gentile Christians who are standing here before the throne and before the Lamb. They have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," or in other words, they have accepted the redeeming sacrifice of the Son of God for their sins, and now stand justified before the throne.
But this means, in concrete terms, that we must be looking at all those Christians whom the Lord Jesus, on his Second Coming for the Rapture of the faithful, has raised from the dead and then raptured along with the brothers and sisters of the congregation of the Last Days who are still alive, as Paul informs us when sharing his vision in 1The 4,15-17.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven, then we will be caught up in the
clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
1The 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who
are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4,16
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and
with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and
remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we
shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,15-17;
And this vision of Paul’s is supplemented by statements of the Lord’s in the gospel of
Matthew. Starting from Mt 24,29, the Lord describes exactly the same events, and reveals to us further
details. A more in-depth treatment of the Rapture will be found below. We would just like to point out
here that, in conjunction with the linking vision of Paul, we can see a connection between the above
passage (Rev 7,9-14) and the Lord’s statements in Mt 24,29-31.
And He will send forth His angels and they will gather together His elect from
the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
Mt 24,29 "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. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming into the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;
(See also discourse 48: "Sequence of the end-time events.")
So if we here have to do with the Second Coming of the Lord for the Rapture, this then
also implies that the above passage (Rev 7,9-14) is to be located in temporal sequence – always in
accordance with the interpretation given here at Immanuel.at – at the end of the Great Tribulation. The
dead in Christ have been raised from the dead, and together with the faithful still living have been
gathered by the angels from all corners of the earth, and raptured to meet the Lord in the air. They now
find themselves in the throne room, before the throne of God and before the Lamb.
So if Rev 7,9-14 is the end of the Great Tribulation, what John reports previously, starting with Rev 6,1, must be the Great Tribulation itself. And we find confirmation of this view, above all, in the light of the parallelism of this passage with the statements made by the Lord in Mt 24,3-31.
(See also discourse 05: "The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.")
But this prophecy of the great multitude before the throne is supplemented by another
passage. In Rev 7,15-17, John once again refers to this great multitude before the throne, and indicates
that here in heaven, before the throne, they no longer have to suffer as they have done previously, in
the course of the Tribulation.
They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on
them, nor any heat;
Rev 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they
serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over
them. 7,16 "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 7,17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Rev 7,15-17;
Although of course any rightly believing Christian who reads the Bible will be
thoroughly familiar with this passages, perhaps the real meaning of these statements only now comes home
to us, at a time when everyone is talking about "global warming". Only then does it become clear
what this "hunger" and "thirst", based on what the Bible tells us, might mean. They refer
to failed harvests and drought all over the world, caused by the intensified heat radiating from the sun.
This is global warming, resulting from more powerful solar radiation – so it is heliogenic (caused by
the sun) not anthropogenous (caused by humans).
And in the same biblical connection we can see a parallelism between Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.
In Mt 24,7 "famines" are prophesied, confirmed by the indication in Rev 6,5-6 of a general shortage of food. And here the statement that there will be a scarcity of wheat and barley (hence the high price of these commodities), while the oil and the wine are spared, could indicate an extended period of dryness, in which cereal crops, as we know, will suffer damage from drought very much more quickly than olive trees and vines.
And in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
Mt 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,
and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. Mt 24, 7;
A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and
do not damage the oil and the wine.
Rev 6,5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature
saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6,6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine." Rev 6, 5- 6;
The prophecy above in the first part of Mt 24,7, about wars between nation and nation, and between kingdom and kingdom, together with the indication in verse 6 below – "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars" – likewise meet with an analogous parallel in Rev 6,3-4. Here John speaks, in connection with the second seal, of a red horse; and to him who sits upon it, it is granted to take peace from the earth.
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that
you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. Mt 24. 6-7;
And to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that
men would slay one another.
Rev 6,3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature
6,4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. Rev 6, 3- 4;
(See also table 17: "The Chronology of the End‒Time Events.")
Based on logical inquiry, this text (Mt 24,6-7) has been interpreted correctly here at immanuel.at for the very first time. This prophecy of the Lord’s – "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (following the NASB, similar to the German Elberfeld Bible) – was translated by Luther as "For one nation will rise against another, and one kingdom against another", so giving the impression that all the nations of the earth would be engaged in mutual combat – in other words, suggesting a world war.
But when we scrutinize the original Greek text, it emerges that Luther here – as is not infrequently the case with his translation – has been not so much translating as interpreting. The translation of the original Greek text in Nestle-Aland reads "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom" – just as in the Elberfeld translation.
And as we will see shortly, this completely changes the meaning of this passage. By translating it as "one nation (or kingdom) will rise against another" Luther has laid a false trail, which has never yet been recognized as such by the commentators.
This is because when we look at this statement by the Lord in Mt 24,7 (in the NASB and Elberfeld translations) – "nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom" – experienced commentators are going to feel a certain suspicion. There can be no doubt that this prophecy has worldwide significance. This is confirmed, too, by the statement in the parallel text (Rev 6,4): "it was granted to him to take peace from the earth."
And yet – or for that very reason – we feel obliged to ask the question why the Lord speaks here of "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom". Is this perhaps to be taken as implying the exclusion of "nation against kingdom" or "kingdom against nation"? And if that were to be the case, if it is a matter of world wars, why should this kind of combination not be possible?
And here a supposition that has become increasingly concrete over the years now makes itself felt: if there are wars all over the world in which men slay each other (see Rev 6,4 above), but at the same time we have to do with wars of "nation against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom", this cannot be a world war in the traditional sense.
But if we assume that the Lord has deliberately chosen to formulate it in this way in order to specifically exclude its being interpreted as a world war, the only explanation remaining is that civil wars are intended. All over the world, that is, in every country, every nation, every state and every kingdom – they are all engaged in internecine strife. And that would imply that we have to do here with civil wars, no more and no less.
When seeking to find a cause for these worldwide civil wars, a political background has been presumed in the past – as has been the case with the civil wars of past times. But when we consider the implications of a climate catastrophe, with temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in summer and 30 degrees in winter – along with the failed harvests resulting and the other effects on living conditions – a very different picture starts to emerge.
It could be purely and simply the battle for survival from day to day, where people fight for the bare necessities of food, water and shelter, which leads to these "civil wars". This would also explain the question how it comes about that suddenly, all over the world, political struggles for power should be occurring. These are not political struggles for power, but rather people battling one another for survival. If we just take another look at the biblical text, both in Revelation and in Matthew, we can feel the entire seriousness of this prophecy.
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. Mt 24. 6-7;
And to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another.
Rev 6,3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come." 6,4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. Rev 6, 3- 4;
But as the Son of God proceeds to explain in the next verse of Matthew, all these catastrophes – with famine, earthquakes and mutual slaughter – are not yet the Great Tribulation, but
only the "beginning of birth pangs".
But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
Mt 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Mt 24, 8;
So the beginning of birth pangs involves the annihilation of the material foundations of life, as a result of natural catastrophes like famines and earthquakes, along with enmity between human beings, so that they slaughter one another in a mutual battle for survival. And this then finally leads to the prophecies of Rev 6,8:
Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence.
Rev 6,8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. Rev 6,8;
So "sword and famine and pestilence" will kill off a fourth part of the earth – and if we think here of the most heavily populated quarter of the earth’s surface (Europe, Asia and the whole of North Africa), this implies the death of practically half the world’s population. And only after this mutual mass slaughter, and the annihilation of a major part of the material necessities of life, will the spiritual integrity of human beings be progressively turned inside out. First of all the faith of Christians becomes an object of attack, and many of them will be killed. But as verse 24,14 of Matthew below tells us, a few of them will always be left to proclaim the gospel until the end.
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.
Mt 24,9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24,10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.
24,11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24,12 "Because lawlessness is increased,
most people’s love will grow cold.
24,13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 24,14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Mt 24, 9-14;
But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
Lk 21,16 "But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and
relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 21,17 and you will be hated by all because of My name. 21,18 "Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 21,19 "By your endurance you will
gain your lives. Lk 21,16-19;
Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
Mt 10,17 "But beware of men, for they will hand you over to
the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 10,18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 10,19 "But when they hand you over,do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.
10,20 "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 10,21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
10,22 "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. 10,23 "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes. Mt 10,17-23;
These texts, along with Mt 24,15-28 below, describe the Great Tribulation with its consequences just for those
believers in Christ who are still alive at this time, who will then, as the Lord says in Mt 10,22, "be hated by all because of My name" (because of the name of Christ). These statements by the Son of God, in Mt 24,9 and 10,22 above, and also in Mk 13:13, Lk 21:17 and Jn 15:21, constitute one of the most important texts for the Christian understanding of the Bible.
This is because it gives us biblical proof, directly coming from the Son of God and evidenced in all the gospels, that God has introduced a paradigm switch. Though of course this has already been documented by Paul, when he demonstrates that the "children of Abraham" are not just the children of Abraham after the flesh (correctly believing Israelites, that is to say), but also, and in a special sense, those who are children by faith, the correctly believing Christians (Gal 3:6-7).
Just as God tested the first human beings to see whether they deserved his trust, as they would have done if they had followed his commandments, so God put the Israelites to the test to see whether they would trust him and accept his Son. In both cases, human beings failed the test, so God annihilated the first bunch (with the exception of Noah and his family) in the Flood, and expunged the others from the Book of Life (Rev 20:15).
From this point in world history, God no longer judges human beings based on their descent in the flesh from Abraham, but by the criterion whether they believe in his Son and have adhered to his commandments (Rev 14:21). These believers, wherever they may happen to come from, are the "children of God", these are the ones whose "names are written in the Book of Life" and they are also the Chosen of God and of the Lamb.
And just as rightly believing Christians are the descendants of Abraham in faith (and consequently children of Abraham), so we too, as the people of God, are a people from every nation. These are the "people producing the fruit of it" (Mt 21,43) of whom the Lord says that the kingdom of God will be given to them, after it has been taken away from the Israelites because they rejected his Son and handed him over to die on the cross.
The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
Mt 21,42 Jesus *said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the LORD, and it is marvelous in our eyes? 21,43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 21,44 "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. Mt 21,42-44;
If we want to see it that way, this is the first instance of "globalization". Since the Israelites apostasized from their God, God deprived them of their national prerogative. They are no longer the "people of God". The new people of God is global and international. People are no longer judged or chosen by national allegiance, but based on their spiritual identification with the Christian faith. And yet the congregation is not Israel! But any Israelite can all the same come to the congregation and become Christian – and so be saved – if they come to believe in Jesus Christ.
And as correctly believing Christians we are also that people who in this time of major tribulation will be defended by Michael, the prince of the angels, as Daniel prophesies in the passage below. Together with the God-fearing Israelites of pre-Christian days, we are this people of God, the Chosen, whose names are written in the Book of Life and of which the survivors will be saved at the end of the Great Tribulation.
And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.
Dan 12,1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Dan 12, 1;
As we are now told in Mt 24,22 below, these last days of the Great Tribulation will be shortened by God, specially for the sake of these Elect who have come through it alive. They will be cut short by the Second Coming of the Son of God for the Rapture of the Elect – the rightly believing and God-fearing Christians both dead and alive.
Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
Mt 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 24,22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Mt 24,21-22;
This statement of the Lord’s above, that the days of the Great Tribulation are to be shortened for the sake of the Elect, also implies of course that these Elect – the congregation of Christ of the Last Days – will still be around until the end of the Great Tribulation. This refutes the "pre-Rapture" doctrine of the Pretribulationists, who postulate a Rapture occurring before the Tribulation.
Before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, the apostasy comes first, the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction.
2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2The 2, 1- 4;
And what is more, the Lord’s indications somewhat later in this gospel, in Mt 24,29, likewise confirm this view. Here the Lord says, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days (…) they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky." So there can be no doubt of it – the Second Coming of the Lord, and the Rapture, will take place immediately after the Great Tribulation and not before.
But immediately after the tribulation of those days He will send forth His angels and they will gather together His elect.
Mt 24,29 "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.24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;
And when we are told in the next sentence (Mt 24,30) that "they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky", we can see in this the fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by two angels to the disciples at the time of the Ascension of the Lord in Acts 1,11: namely that the Lord Jesus will come again in the same way as he has gone into heaven – on the clouds.
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.
Acts 1,6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 1,7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;1,8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
1,9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 1,10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 1,11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Acts 1, 6-11;
A further indication of the Second Coming of the Lord, namely the darkening of the heavenly bodies, is to be found in the New Testament in the gospels (Mt 24:29; Mk 13:24-27; Lk 21:25-27), and it is also documented in Acts:
The sun will be turned i nto darkness and the moon ointo blood, before the great and glorious day of the LOTRD shall come.
Acts 2,19 ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. 22,0 ‘The sun will be turned i nto darkness and the moon ointo blood, before the great and glorious day of the LOTRD shall come. 2,21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ Acts 2,19-21;
And then in this global darkness the sign of the Son of Man (Mt 24,30) will appear in the sky, as a further indication of the Second Coming of the Son of God: "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Mt 24,23 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24,24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 24,25 "Behold, I have told you in advance. 24,26 "So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 24,27 "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 24,28 "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Mt 24,23-28;
These are the signs of the Second Coming of the Lord for the Rapture. The interpretation of these statements becomes easier if we look at the parallel passages in Luke. In Lk 17,30 Luke explains that this day of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ may be compared with the day on which Lot
It was the same as happened in the days of Lot. It will be just the same on the
day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Lk 17,28 "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 17,29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 17,30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 17,31 "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back.
17,32 "Remember Lot’s wife. 17,33 "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 17,34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 17,35 "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 17,36 [["Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."]] 17,37 And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered." Lk 17,28-37;
In the final verse of the description of the Great Tribulation in both gospels (Mt 24,28 in Matthew, Lk 17,37 in Luke), the Lord speaks of the "body" ("Aas" in German, meaning "carrion") to which the vultures gather. And this sentence has given rise to the wildest speculations by biblical commentators all over the world. But if we read the preceding passage, in Luke above all – in particular, with the question the disciples put to the Lord, where all this is going to happen – it becomes easier to understand the meaning of these words.
First of all it must be stated that the current translations omit to indicate that the original Greek of the last sentence of this text – "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered" – uses the terms (swma) (corpse, person) and (aetoi) (eagles) rather than "vultures". This is significant for the reason that "corpse" refers to a dead human being, whereas the German translation "Aas" means "carrion" and does not necessarily carry the same implication. And the introduction of "vultures" is a knock-on effect of the incorrect translation "Aas" ("carrion"), whereas "eagles" might rather be taken to symbolize angels.
And then we can see two things as being implied by the Lord’s answer to the disciples’ question of "Where, Lord?" On the one hand it looks as if he has not registered their question at all – as if he is talking about something entirely different, when he says: "Where the body (the corpse) is, there also the vultures (eagles) will be gathered." And yet this answer represents the very thing that the disciples – and still more the faithful of the Last Days – needed to know.
It seems as if the Lord was trying to tell them, Don’t think you need to take yourselves to any special place. When I come, I will send out my angels to gather you in, whether dead or alive. And just as the vultures (eagles) know instinctively where the carrion (the corpse) is to be found, so too the angels will know where you can be found. You must just trust in God and wait patiently and keep still, and no longer look backward with your spiritual vision on your past earthly life, but rather forward to the new life dawning for you in God’s eternity.
So that is the Great Tribulation with its death toll of up to 3 three billion persons. But this is not yet the end of God’s punishments and judgments on human beings. Immediately thereafter starts the "Day of the Lord", and this is the phase of the Last Days where the wrath of God really and truly will be visited on humanity.
And here we must just correct another widely disseminated incorrect interpretation. The
following statement by Paul –
1The 5,9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
– has been used to justify the doctrine of "Pretribulationism" – stating that the Rapture of the congregation of Christ is to take place before the Great Tribulation.
Along with all the statements of the Lord in the gospels – especially his promise in Mt 24,29, that he will appear for the Rapture "immediately after the tribulation of those days", it has also been overlooked that the Last Days are divided into two sections. The first section is the Great Tribulation, a fearful time, which – as we have demonstrated above – not just the godless, but also the Christian congregation of the Last Days will be obliged to experience and to live through.
(See also chapter 05 "The Day of the LORD.")
(See also chapter 01: " The 70th week of seven years – the day of the Lord.")
(See also discourse 61: "Is the Great Tribulation identical with the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of God?")
But this is not yet the Wrath of God. The Day of the Wrath of God is the second part of the Day of the Lord. And the Day of the Lord begins, after the Second Coming and the Rapture, with the seventh seal in the Revelation of John. For the sake of a better overview, we insert Table 14 below, showing both the Great Tribulation with the judgments of the seals, the Day of the Lord with the judgments of the trumpets and the Day of the Wrath of God with the judgments of the bowls.
|The seventieth week: seal
#1: The Antichrist / 2, 3: The begin of the birth pangs / 4, 5: The Great
Tribulation / 6: The Rapture
||Begin Day of the Lord
|< 1st seal >
White horse: rider has a
bow. A crown was given
to him, he went out con-
quering and to conquer.
|< 2nd seal >
Red horse: takes peace
from the earth. A great
sword was given to him,
men slay one another
|< 3rd seal >
Black horse: a pair of
scales in his hand, wheat
and barley expensive but
oil and wine not damaged.
|< 4th seal >
Ashen horse: Death, and
Hades followed. Authority
over 1/4 of the earth, wild
beasts, famine, pestilence
|< 5th seal >
Underneath of the altar:
martyrs: Judge them! They
got a white robe, rest until
their brethren are killed too
Great earthquake: sun is
black, moon is like blood,
stars fall, sky is rolled up,
mountains, islands moved
|< 7th> seal >
Silence in heaven 1/2 hour
Incense on the altar
7 angels with 7 trumpets
thunder, sounds, lightning
|The two witnesses of God
prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth (?)
|< 1st trumpet >
Hail, fire, mixed with blood
1/3 of the earth burned up
1/3 of the trees burned up
all green grass burned up
|< 2nd trumpet >
Mountain burning into
sea, 1/3 of the sea blood
1/3 of sea-creatures died
1/3 of ships destroyed
|< 3rd trumpet >
Torch-star from heaven
1/3 of rivers wormwood
1/3 of springs worm-
wood, many men died.
|< 4th trumpet >
Sun, moon, stars:
1/3 of them darkened
for 1/3 of the day
and 1/3 of the night
|< 5th trumpet / 1stwoe
Star with the key of the pit:
smoke darkened the sun,
locusts hurt only the men
without the seal 5 months.
|< 6th trumpet / 2ndwoe
Angels from Euphrates:
fire smoke brimstone killed
1/3 of mankind, the rest
of mankind did not repent.
|< 7th trumpet / 3rdwoe
World’s kingdom is God’s.
God’s wrath has come.
Time for judging the dead.
Thunder, sounds, lightning
|The day of the wrath of God - The 42 month of the demonic Antichrist: His rising / Death of the 2 witnesses / The nations tread under foot Jerusalem
|< 1st bowl >
Poured out in the earth:
a loathsome, malignant
sore on the people who
had the mark of the beast.
|< 2nd bowl >
Poured out into the sea:
became blood like that of
a dead man, every living
thing in the sea died.
|< 3rd bowl >
Into rivers and springs:
the waters became blood.
They poured out blood of
saints: now blood to drink
|< 4th bowl >
Poured out upon the sun:
men scorched with heath
they blasphemed the name
of God and did not repent.
|< 5th bowl >
On the throne of the beast:
kingdom became darkened,
men have pain blasphemed
God and did not repent.
|< 6th bowl >
On the river Euphrates:
its water was dried up so
the way is prepared for
the kings from the east.
|< 7th bowl >
Poured out upon the air:
lightning, sounds, thunder
great earthquake as ever
no islands, no mountains
|The returned Antichrist: Death of the two
after 6th seal
No harm to earth, sea and
trees, until the 144.000
are sealed. Those out of
the great tribulation
before the throne. The
Lamb will guide them to
springs of water of live.
God will wipe every tear
of their eyes
after 6th trumpet
(Rev 10:1-11; 11:1-14;)
A strong angel in a
cloud. At the sound of
the 7th trumpet the
mystery of God is
finished. There will
be delay no longer. The
two witnesses will be
killed by the beast.
Earthquake in Jerusalem
after 7th trumpet
(Rev 12:1-17; 13:1-18; 14:1-20; 15:1-8;)
The woman and the dragon, the fall of Satan and his angels.
The beast out of the sea overcomes the saints.
Antichrist and false prophet: the government of the two beasts.
The Lamb and the 144’000 standing on Mount Zion.
Three angels: gospel, judgment has come, Babylon is fallen. Blessed who dies
Begin of the judgment, the Son of Man reaps the earth.
Those who had been victorious over the beast and its image sing Moses’ song
The 7 angels with the 7 bowls of the wrath of God.
No one was able to enter the temple until the 7 plagues were finished.
after 6th bowl
Satan, Antichrist and
false prophet send spirits
of demons performing
signs to the kings of the
whole world to gather
them together for the war
on the great day of God to
the place which is called
after 7th bowl
(Rev 17:1-18; 18:1-24;)
The fall of Bab:ylon
(Rev 19:1-21; 20:1-15;)
Battle of Armageddon
Antichrist and the false
prophet in the lake of fire
Judgment 1st Resurrection
Last fight, Last Judgment
(Rev 21:1-27; 22:1-21;)
The New Creation
But together with other natural catastrophes (Rev 8,1 through Rev 16,21), the Day of the Lord and Day of the Wrath of God also include the dominion of the second demonic Antichrist (who has been raised from the dead by Satan). He will pose for a short time as the false Messiah ("Christ"), and in this role will find enthusiastic subjects to govern in the world (in particular the Jews, and "Christians" living in these times – Catholics and other pseudo-Christians, that is).
(See also discourse 86: "The first and the second Antichrist.")
As a demonstration of this, we can find nothing more suitable than the statements made by the Old Testament about the Day of the Lord. In almost all these prophecies the "darkness" of this day is foretold, involving a reference to the statement in the passage mentioned earlier (Mt 24,29), on the Second Coming of the Lord for the Rapture, where "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."
The sun will be turned
into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
Joel 2,31 "The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 2,32 "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls. Joel 2,31-32;
Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?
Amos 5,18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; 5,19 As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. 5,20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness init? Amos 5,18-20;
The day of the Lord - A day of darkness and gloom.
Zeph 1,14 Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. 1,15 A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness, 1,16 A day of trumpet and battle cry Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers. 1,17 I will bring distress on men So that they will walk like the blind, Because they have sinned against the LORD; And their blood will be poured out like dust And their flesh like dung. 1,18 Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On
the day of the LORD’S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He
will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth. Zeph 1,14-18;
For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty.
Isa 2,10 Enter the rock and hide in the dust From the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of His majesty. 2,11 The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of manwill be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. 2,12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased. 2,13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, Against all the oaks of Bashan, 2,14 Against all the lofty mountains, Against all the hills that are lifted up, 2,15 Against every high tower, Against every fortified wall, 2,16 Against all the ships of Tarshish And against all the beautiful craft. 2,17 The pride of man will be humbled And the loftiness of men will be abased; And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, 2,18 But the idols will completely vanish. 2,19 Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before theterror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. Isa 2,10-19;
Whereas the "Day of the Lord" in the Old Testament generally comprises both – both the
Day of the Lord and the Day of the Wrath of God – in Revelation we find quite concrete statements about
the latter. It includes, essentially, the seven judgments of the bowls. Everything that comes after that
– the fall of Babylon, the battle of Armageddon, the final expulsion of the Antichrist with his false
prophet (and of course too the eternal banishment of Satan) and the reorganization of heaven and earth –
are terminal events on the one hand, while on the other they are the preparation for the subsequent
Millennium, the Thousand Years Kingdom of Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(See also chapter 07: "The Battle of Armageddon.")
(See also chapter 08: "The reorganization of heaven and earth.")
Then the kings of the earth hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
Rev 6,15 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 hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 6,16 and they *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;
6,17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand? Rev 6,15-17;
Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God.
Rev 15,6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. 15,7Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. Rev 15, 6- 7;
which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.
Rev 15,1 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished. Rev 15, 1;
day of the week
THE MILLENNIAL WEEK
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 2Pet 3,8;
day of the week
Creation of Adam and Eve
Death of Adam
Birth of Noah
Dispersion (confusion of languages in Babel)
Birth of Abram
Death of Noah
Death of Abraham
Birth of Mose
Death of Mose
Destruction of the Solomonic Temple
Jerusalem is being rebuilt (Dan 9:25)
Birth of Jesus Christ
Death of Jesus Christ
Destruction of the Herodian Temple
End of the Western Roman Empire
Start of the Crusades
Discovery of America
The Great Tribulation
Start of the Millennium
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.
(Hebr 4:4-5; Ps 90:4)
The end of the world
The Resurrection / The Last Judgment
(See also discourse 122: "Still 224 years to go till the Millennium.")