Will some people live through the tribulation?
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“Then answered Peter and said unto him (Jesus), Behold, we have forsaken all (their occupations), and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Peter wasn’t talking about his salvation, he knew he had that. He had already believed that Jesus was the Christ. So what’s he talking about? He wanted to know what their reward would be for following Jesus (leaving everything else behind). Look at Jesus’ answer:
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, `That ye which have followed me (the twelve, but we must leave Judas out), in the regeneration (that’s when you restore something back like it was. The earth back like it was in the Garden of Eden) when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory (and according to Psalms Chapter 2, it will be in Jerusalem), ye (the twelve, we will have Matthias in the Book of Acts) also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging (or ruling) the twelve tribes of Israel.'”
Now isn’t that so plain? When the Kingdom is set up and the Nation is now under their King, under The King will be twelve original Apostles each ruling the twelve tribes, there in Jerusalem. There in the land of Israel. Let’s look at another verse or two. This comes back to the closing days of the Tribulation, but that is all tied to the beginning of the Kingdom.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Now that’s the end of the Tribulation. Look at what the next verse says:
“And then shall they (the Jews. What’s the next word?) see (lock that word in for I’ll come back and make a point with it) the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Remember, He is addressing the Nation of Israel.
“And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the (what’s the next word?) kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
Now come on over to the Book of Acts Chapter 1. Of course, the Crucifixion has come and gone. Christ has been raised from the dead. He has spent forty days with the eleven. And now verse 3:
“To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days (they saw Him. How? With their eyes), and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Now verses 6 and 7:
“When they therefore were come together (Jesus and the eleven, on the Mount of Olives), they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” Notice He didn’t tell them there wouldn’t be a Kingdom, but rather:
“And he said unto them, `It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.'”
Don’t think Peter had forgotten about the promise of both him and the others sitting on the twelve thrones we read about earlier.
I just had a thought. I’m going to give you something to look for. I want you to search the four Gospel accounts, and see if you can find a single time that the twelve referred to the Lord as “Jesus.” I think you will have an eye-opener.
So the Kingdom has been the theme throughout all of Scripture. That this Kingdom is going to come on the earth where Christ will be the absolute King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Satan, as we have seen, is going to be bound and there will be no sin. But the question is, “Who is going to go into the Kingdom?” There are qualifications, of course. Come back to John’s Gospel Chapter 3. A portion you all know forward and backward. And you have heard dozens of sermons on it. And here we have Nicodemus in verse 2:
“This same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
Notice Nicodemus was head and shoulders ahead of most of the Jews of that day. He recognized that these miracles were telling him something. And he knew that Jesus was Someone special.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, `Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except (or unless) a man be born again (or born from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” Now what does that tell you. Who can go into the Kingdom? ONLY BELIEVERS!
There will be no unbelievers in the Kingdom. Come back to Matthew 24. Several lessons ago, I had my timeline on the board showing the seven years of Tribulation. And at the mid-point of the Tribulation we see the Anti-christ coming in and defiling the temple at Jerusalem? Matthew 24 verses 15a and 16:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,… Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:”
I call this the escaping remnant of Israel. They go down to the mountains to the southeast of Jerusalem. They won’t be the whole nation but as I taught you before, only the remnant. And in those mountains God is going to protect them for the last 3 1/2 years. Then as this remnant of Israel who have gone out to the mountains in unbelief (in that they have never recognized Christ as their Messiah), when they seeChrist coming with glory and power at His Second Coming they will believe. So they, too, will get to go into the Kingdom.
Let’s look at this remnant as they see Him coming from the view of Zechariah. Remember, I told you earlier in the lesson in Luke 21:27 to remember that word `see’ – in that they would see Him:
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications (remember this is the house of David, no Gentiles are there): and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced (His Crucifixion),…”
They will suddenly not only have their physical eyes opened but also their spiritual eyes. And they will recognize that this coming manifestation of The Christ, The Messiah is the One Who died back there on that Roman Cross. Let’s look at one more verse in this lesson:
“And one (this remnant of Israel) shall say unto him, `What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, `Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,'”
Then this remnant of Israel will experience that new birth that Nicodemus was told he had to have in order to go into the Kingdom. This remnant, by far, will be the largest number of people to survive the Tribulation. This then will be the seed stock of the Nation of Israel as they come into the Kingdom. All twelve tribes will be represented here. Isaiah tells us, “Will a nation be born in a day.”
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FIRST RESURRECTION – “WHO GOES INTO KINGDOM:”
Turn in your Bible to Isaiah 24. We continue our study on who goes into the earthly Kingdom after the Tribulation. Remember at that time the earth will be restored back to the way it was in the Garden of Eden before sin entered. It will be glorious and beautiful. As we saw last lesson, the remnant of Israel that God had protected all during the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation will believe when they see Christ coming with power and great glory at His Second Coming. They will see the nail prints in His hands, the wound in His side and by sight, believe and know that He was and is their Messiah. They then will go into the Kingdom. Also remember this remnant is a mixed group of Jews we saw in Matthew 24 as they fled Jerusalem. They will then become the seed stock for the Nation of Israel. They are not the 144,000 Jewish men who preached during the Tribulation.
They will also, by far, be the largest nation in numbers to go into the Kingdom. So now we have the Nation of Israel established. Now let’s pick up the Gentiles whom God hasn’t forgotten. Even though the Age of Grace was primarily to the Gentiles yet even in the Tribulation, God has been preparing Gentiles to go into the Kingdom in ordinary flesh and blood bodies. Remember the Kingdom is going to see a tremendous population explosion. So by the end of that thousand years when Satan will be released for a little season to test those born during this Kingdom Age, there will be probably as many people on earth then as there are now. So in Isaiah Chapter 24 we will pick up these Gentiles. We will begin at verse 1, and again, it’s a graphic description of the Tribulation as we have been studying it for the last several lessons.
“BEHOLD, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.” We have been talking about all the cataclysmic events that will be taking place during the Tribulation.
“And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.” In other words, everyone is going to come under this tremendous cataclysmic seven-year period of events.
“The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away (under these judgments), the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.” Even their wealth is not going to protect them.
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws (the basic laws of morality laid down back in the Ten Commandments), changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” In other words, they have been totally disobedient to everything that God has instructed.
“Therefore hath the curse (that began with Adam) devoured the earth (it’s because of sin that all of these things take place), and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned (yes there could be tremendous amounts of nuclear energy released), and few men left.”
And despite all the cataclysmic events that happen, there will be survivors in just about any catastrophe that happens. There are normally some survivors. When we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, there were people who survived that blast and they were at ground zero. When there are terrible earthquakes, where there’s a building collapse and it doesn’t look possible for any one to be alive, they always find survivors. And so it will be at the end of the Tribulation. They will be scattered around the planet from every nation that you can think of.
Now let’s try to figure out in the statement of verse 6, “and few men left.” How many is a few? You can use any percentage you wish to figure a few. We have tonight in the world around 5 1/2 billion people. But for sake of easy mathematics let’s round it off to 5 billion. I think 10 percent is too high for a few. When I think of a few I think of something less then 5 percent. So what would be 5 percent of 5 billion people? 250 million people. Let’s bring it down to 1 percent and you still have 50 million. That is still a lot of people.
Don’t forget the fact that at the beginning of the Tribulation God sealed 144,000 young Jews who will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Their main message will be, during almost all of the Tribulation, “The King is coming to set up His Kingdom.” Many people will believe and be martyred. However some people will believe and survive. Then some people who won’t believe survive. So all of survivors combined are the, “few men left” we read about here in Isaiah. Let’s go to the Book of Matthew and pick these survivors up again and see what happens to them. Remember, no unbelievers can go into the Kingdom. Because Satan is going to be locked up, and we will start out with a generation of parents who are believers. In Matthew Chapter 25 we have the perfect description of how God is going to do it. Here we will be dealing with a point in time where the supernatural will be almost common-place. And so Christ is going to bring supernaturally all of the survivors, from all over the world, to Jerusalem. So, beginning in verse 31, this is Jesus speaking:
“When the Son of Man shall come in his glory (now watch the language here), and all the holy angels with him (that includes you and I; this is at His Second Coming), then shall he sat upon the throne of his glory (His Kingdom rule in Jerusalem).”
“And before him shall be gathered all nations (the biggest percentages of the population of the nations have been killed, as this is at the end of the Tribulation. But we still have the survivors, who are representative of their nations): and he (The King) shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Here Christ the King will separate the believers from the unbelievers.
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”
“Then shall the (what’s the next word) King (notice He is already on the throne here ready to start ruling over the Kingdom) say unto them on his right hand (believers), `Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the (what?) kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:'”
That is nothing new to you is it? What does Ephesians Chapter 1 tell us? When were we chosen and in the mind of God? Before the foundation of the world. God in His foreknowledge knew exactly which one of these Gentiles would hear the Gospel of the Kingdom from the 144,000 and believe. Now in verse 35, the following is not what saved them but what distinguished them as believers:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat (food): I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
“Then shall the righteous (these surviving believers) answer him, saying, `Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?’ And the King shall answer and say unto them, `Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,…'”
That word `brethren’ is the secret here. Jesus was a Jew so His brethren were Jews. So who is He referring to? The 144,000 that had preached the Gospel of the Kingdom during the Tribulation. It wasn’t their good deeds that saved them. It is never good works that save anyone. They were saved by their faith in this message that was preached unto them. And as soon as they were saved what were they willing to do? Help these people who had brought this saving message to them.
Remember during World War II, who helped and hid the Jewish people from the Nazis? Christians. Why? Because it’s a Christians’ nature to do things like this. So here, Jesus is showing that these 144,000 are going to suffer privation all through their ministry. Go back to Revelation Chapter 7 for a moment, where the angel says:
“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
That was like, I suppose, when God put a mark on Cain, that no one could take his life. And it’s the same way with these 144,000. They were sealed so that they could not be killed. Suffer, yes, but they couldn’t be killed. Reading on you will see that there were 12,000 sealed from each of the twelve tribes. To see how all of this fits with Matthew Chapter 25 come down to verse 16. These are the privations that Tribulation believers, as well as the 144,000, will suffer during this seven-year period.
“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;…”
Remember, if people don’t take the mark of the beast during this time, they won’t be able to buy or sell, and seven years is a long time if you can’t buy groceries. Seven years is a long time if you can’t make a house payment, buy gasoline, or pay a doctor bill. So they will end up hungry and thirsty, and naked. Come back to Matthew Chapter 25. So the 144,000 suffered these same privations during the Tribulation. They were thrown in prison and they’re going to be hungry, and the only sustenance they had was from these believers. These believers, although they will have little to spare, will sacrifice to help these 144,000. Then Jesus said:
“…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” This is the only setting in which this text fits. You can’t put it into anything else. It’s simply the response of these believers who have survived awful events of the Tribulation. Then in verse 41 Jesus addresses the goats or unbelievers.
“Then shall he (Christ) say also unto them on the left hand, `Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (and they will ask why): For I was an hungred, and ye gave me not meat (food): I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, `Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?’ (and look at the Lord’s reply): Then shall he answer them, saying, `verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these (the 144,000), ye did it not to me:'” And now He gives each group what they deserve in verse 46:
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” And although the Kingdom is stipulated a thousand years it is still the beginning of eternity.
I had a gentleman call the other night who said, “Les, I have problems with what takes place in the Kingdom and what takes place in eternity. What’s the difference?” I told him there were a lot of great theologians who debate the issue in their books as to what’s in the Kingdom Age and what’s in eternity. I can just simplify that by saying, “Always remember that all the situations concerning the Kingdom are an introduction to the eternal.” Now that’s the way I see it. It will be interrupted, by a new heaven and a new earth, but I think eternity will be based on pretty much the same set of circumstances that we have in the thousand years. So when Jesus tells these people that are going into the Kingdom that they are going into eternal life, indeed they are! Let’s look at a few more of the attributes of the Kingdom. Turn to Isaiah Chapter 11:
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” Jesse was the father of David and Christ is always considered the Son of David. So we are speaking of the Branch here as the Messiah, the Christ.
“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD:” Those are all attributes of the Spirit and also indicative of the Christ.
“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth (this is where the Beatitudes come into play, and become the constitution of the Kingdom): and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (He did that at Armageddon).” And in verse 5 we come back again into the Kingdom.
“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” This is all on the earth.