THE GREAT TRIBULATION
The evidence we have examined thus far that the abomination of desolation began at the very beginning of the church, even at the time of the first Remnant, has required substantial examination to unfold. The items we will now address are less involved, but even so, quite confirming and certainly revealing.
First, we have seen abundantly evidenced that the period of the church up to Passover, 2004, is the period of the great and terrible wilderness. As we briefly addressed at the opening of The New Millennial Calendar, this is simply the way of Yahweh. He begins things in darkness, in corruption, even in a wilderness. Though He brought the sons of Israel out of Egypt in order to bring them into the promised land (Deuteronomy 6:23), His way was to place a breach in that promise, to add Job’s sorrows when Satan gains the right to test and afflict. This was like telling Job, “I am going to give you double of everything you have,” but not telling him what takes place in order to receive it.
Such it was with the church as well. He brought us out in order to bring us in; but, there had to be a breach, a period of Job’s sorrows and loss, a wilderness period, a premature Saul period. The church was early, even as the demons well knew – “have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29). Thus, the church entered into the great and terrible wilderness period, or as Stephen called it – “the church in the wilderness” (lit. of Acts 7:38). Therefore we see in Deuteronomy 8:2-5 and 15-16 this accurate description of this first 2,000 year period of the church:
“You shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years [forty Jubilee waiting periods], that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that Yahweh your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.”
“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.”
The good that comes following this period of testing and humbling is the promised Millennial reign, the promised land.
Therefore, we see once again that this great and terrible wilderness period of the church is in fact what is otherwise called the great tribulation. Both terms describe what was addressed here in Deuteronomy – a Job breach period of agonizing tribulation and testing by Satan. Thus we find evidenced:
5. The forty years of the great and terrible wilderness speak of the great tribulation of the forty-Jubilee-waiting-period time of the church in the wilderness.
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet in the face/presence of the coming great and terrible day of Yahweh. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”
The great tribulation, the great and terrible wilderness, and the great and terrible day of Yahweh, all speak of the same thing – the 2,000 year testing period of the church. And as we have addressed, if Yahweh did not cut those 3,000 years short to 2,000 years, then no flesh would be saved. Who have we seen that stops this abomination of desolation? The Elijah! And who do we see here in Malachi that cuts short the great and terrible day of Yahweh? Once again, the Elijah!
Unfortunately, the NAS and other versions translate this passage – “before the great and terrible day of Yahweh,” as though he comes prior to that time. But you will get a better understanding of the meaning of this word if you read the passage just a few verses before this in 3:16, where it says:
Then those who feared Yahweh spoke to one another, and Yahweh gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before [in the presence of] Him for those who fear Yahweh and who esteem His name.
This by no means could mean that the book of remembrance was written prior to Yahweh. The Hebrew word used here, panim, more literally means “face,” and in the NAS is translated as such 263 times. It is also translated “presence” 128 times. For example, in Exodus 25:30 and other like passages, “panim” is the same Hebrew word for the bread of the Presence, meaning Yahshua’s presence. Therefore, the message here in Malachi 4:5 is the coming of Elijah during the great and terrible day of Yahweh.
Why does Yahweh send the Elijah? As we have seen, for the same reason Judas Maccabeus prevailed. Elijah is sent in order to stop the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, the great and terrible day of Yahweh – “lest I smite the land with a curse.”
And here again we find even further revealing and confirming truth. The Hebrew word for “curse” here is not the standard word for a curse. In fact, this Hebrew word, “cherem,” is only translated “curse” or “accursed” four times. Otherwise, it is primarily translated in relation to being banned. Its origin is from a word that has precisely the same characters, but only different vowel points. This is the word “charam,” which has the meaning of being exterminated, annihilated, or destroyed completely.
Therefore, once again we see that what is being said here is that this great and terrible day of Yahweh that has been transpiring for 2,000 years, is cut short by Him sending Elijah, lest He smite the land with complete annihilation and extermination.
This promised deliverance for the church is equally attested in Zechariah 14:6-11. When you read this, you cannot think literal Jerusalem, literal gates, literal water, or literal luminaries. The message here is obviously the Millennial reign when Yahshua returns, when Jerusalem above comes to the earth. But pay special attention to the last verse.
In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to Yahweh, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And Yahweh will be king over all the earth; in that day Yahweh will be one, and His name one. All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin's Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses. People will live in it, and there will not be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.
The word “curse” here is the identical word found in Malachi 4:6, the final word in the Old Testament. And what we read here in Zechariah 14:11 is that that curse does not come upon the church – “there will not be a curse,” a total annihilation and extermination. Why? Because Yahweh sends Elijah, cutting that great and terrible day short.
In Bible translations, the word “not” used here is translated “no longer” or “no more.” But that too is not an accurate message, nor is it appropriate. The Hebrew word used here is “lo,” and it means “not,” or even “never.” Otherwise, the false indication is that this utter destruction of the kingdom has taken place. But the message of Malachi 4:6 and Zechariah 14:11, both using the identical Hebrew word, is that Yahweh does not allow this complete destruction. This is why He stated that if He did not cut the days of the great tribulation of the church short, that no flesh would be saved. Or as we have noted already, it would be the same as the death of all three sons of Judah. This cannot be!
Thus we see yet another sound evidence regarding the abomination of desolation and the great tribulation:
6. As stated in Malachi 4:5-6, Elijah comes in the time of the great and terrible day of Yahweh, in the 3,000 year period of the church, the great tribulation, in order to cut those days short to 2,000 and Yahweh not smite the church with utter annihilation.
Along with these testimonies, we find the same evidence of this tribulation period in the church when reading the New Testament. You will see this in the following passages. A like list could be made by examining the word “afflictions,” insomuch that it is the same Greek word.
… strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” [Acts 14:22].
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance [Romans 5:3].
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword [Romans 8:35]?
… rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer … [Romans 12:12].
You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit [1 Thessalonians 1:6].
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated [Hebrews 10:32-33].
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus [Revelation 1:9].
And from the book of Revelation, speaking to the church of Smyrna, the prophetic first Remnant, as well as to Thyatira, Yahshua declared:
“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” [Revelation 2:9].
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” [Revelation 2:10].
“Behold, I will throw her [Jezebel] on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds” [Revelation 2:22].
Here is another testimony from Revelation, which will be addressed shortly:
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” [Revelation 7:14].
Thus we can add yet another confirmation:
7. The New Testament itself abundantly evidences that the period of the church is the period of great tribulation.
In the remainder of this section, we will address two more evidences of the church’s fulfillment of the great tribulation, beginning with what we just read in Revelation 2:22. Here we will find a very revealing testimony.
Who again is the “her” that is being spoken of in this passage – “I will throw her on a bed”? It is “the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
Let us now go to another account and see what is prophetically testified regarding this woman’s influence and impact on the church. In 1 Kings 19:1-4 we read:
Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Yahweh, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
Let us get right to the point. This account tells us yet another reason why the church went into the great and terrible wilderness, the great tribulation. Where did Elijah flee in his fear of Jezebel? Into the wilderness! How long was he there? Verse 8 tells us that it was for forty days and forty nights, during which he neither ate nor drank. In other words, he entered into the identical prophetic period entered into twice by Moses (Exodus 24:18 and 34:28) and once by Yahshua following His baptism into death by John (Matthew 4:2) – Christianity. Likewise, in fulfillment of Exodus 33:22, Elijah was hidden in the cleft of the rock, in a cave on Horeb – the breach period of Christianity where they do not see. And even as Elijah wanted to die, so kingdom men have therein died. Elijah’s flight from Jezebel was a testimony, once again, of the failure of the first Remnant and the church’s entrance into the tribulation period of the great and terrible wilderness.
What was it that the first Remnant did, or even accepted, relative to this Jezebel? We do not know, other than it was a feminine spirit. The feminine spirit is the weaker vessel that is easily deceived. Possibly the very fact that they were deceived and erred was sufficient to qualify as giving in to that spirit. But we know from Revelation 2:22-23 that giving in to that Jezebel effects the great tribulation, even as we read:
“Behold, I will throw her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”
Thus we see yet another testimony that the abomination of desolation that led to the great tribulation took place at the very beginning of the church:
8. As evidenced by Revelation 2:20-23 and 1 Kings 19, “the woman Jezebel” immediately impacted the church, causing it to go into the great tribulation, the great and terrible wilderness.
But most importantly, what does this say to us today, we who are the true Elijah? It is both a warning, as well as a hopeful promise. In type here, Elijah was in the place of the first Remnant. Technically, the first Remnant preceded the great and terrible wilderness with its breach experience. Also, remember that the two Remnant often flip in their testimonies. In this account, Elisha then represented the second Remnant – the one anointed at the close of the wilderness period, receiving a double portion of the spirit of Elijah.
But very importantly, this account is a warning for us today, the true Elijah, to not give in to “the woman Jezebel.” That Jezebel spirit has NEVER been more prevalent than it is today. We see it in families, where the woman wants to rule over the home, or be equal to her husband. We see it in society, where women dress like men and cut their hair short like them. We see it in the church, where women take the roles of teachers and pastors. We see it in government and in society, where women have the right to vote, to govern, to work in jobs that should be occupied by men only. Of course all of this is nothing less than the outcome of the Curse of 1920, where the woman is now consumed by the original curse that her “desire will be for [the place of] her husband” (Genesis 3:16), and men do nothing to stop it.
Today is the true test of Jezebel! Will we give in to this Jezebel spirit and go into another 1,000 years of wilderness wanderings, or will we face Jezebel and win this test? Elijah won the test of Carmel, but he lost the test with Jezebel, costing him a wilderness experience! In like manner, the first Remnant obviously lost the test with Jezebel. Will we now win this test today?
There is no greater evidence of this test right now than the election of 2008. The word “election” is most revealing at this time, asking the question as to who is Yahweh’s elect. In Revelation 2:24-28, we further read concerning this response to Jezebel:
But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching [of Jezebel], who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them – I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
Yahweh’s elect will rule the nations. This is quite a significant and timely statement in light of the anticipation that as of Trumpets, October 25, 2007, the time of the nations is complete. At that point, the kingdom of heaven should have the legal right to rule over the nations. (More to come on this.)
There has never been a more attesting election than this of 2008 when a woman is running for the most significant office in the world, even as the head of the kingdom of heaven at the nations level. The Jezebel spirit has already provided a woman to be the Speaker of the House, evidencing the woman doing likewise in the home; and now that spirit is pursuing the highest office in this nation, and she must be stopped! There is never a more obvious testimony of Ahab and Jezebel than that which is evidenced in Bill and Hillary Clinton. They are Yahweh’s clear testimony to this conflict with Elijah.
Moving on to our next account from Revelation 7:9-14, Yahshua identified those whom He said came “out of the great tribulation.” Though this account is not as specific as some of the other attesting accounts, it does identify the second Remnant as having its location in the great tribulation. This is in fact the case, for the great tribulation would last 3,000 years if it were not cut short.
We will not quote the preceding verses in Revelation 7:1-8 that address the 144,000 who were sealed. The two groups of 144,000, here and in 14:1-5, represent the two Remnant, evidencing here the more specific testimony to the first Remnant. Whereas in 14:1-5 we see once again the second Remnant testimony of defeating that Jezebel spirit, in that they “have not been defiled with women, … and no lie was found in their mouths.” But back to Revelation 7, following the first Remnant 144,000, we fittingly find another exceptionally clear testimony of the second Remnant.
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; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 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, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” 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?” 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” [Revelation 7:9-14].
First, it is interesting that the elder’s question is remarkably similar to that of Zechariah 4 where the angel asked Zechariah like questions: “Do you not know what these are?,” referring to the lampstand with the two olive trees; and again, “Do you not know what these are?,” referring specifically to the two olive trees. In both passages, it is as though the matters are hidden to men, and it is important that the information be revealed. And in the case in Revelation 7, it is even one of the twenty-four elders who asks the question and gives the answer. Such it is now whereby you will understand who this great multitude is that comes out of the great tribulation.
First, this multitude is identified as taking place “After these things.” They obviously have a relationship with the 144,000, yet take place after them. Next, we see that they are a great multitude “from every nation and all tribes and tongues.” Finally, we see them standing before the throne with “palm branches in their hands.”
To begin with, when you think of people bearing palm branches in their hands, who do you immediately think of? Is it not those who went before Yahshua at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem who “took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.’”? There is only one group who fulfills that prophecy – the second Remnant Elijah company who prepares the way for Yahshua’s return. Branches also speak of Tabernacles, used in making the booths; and the second Remnant is the multitude who are established as a result of Tabernacles being restored to its rightful place as the first of the year, beginning the Tabernacles era.
Also, the first Remnant was formed solely in Jerusalem. And based on the numbers in Acts (first 3,000, then 5,000), as well as Yahweh’s reply in 1 Kings 19:18 to Elijah, there were probably 7,000 people in the first Remnant. (Both 144,000s are solely prophetic numbers.) But as we see regarding the second Remnant, they are a “great multitude … from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues.” With today’s lightning-fast world communications, such is the probability for a latter rain work in today’s global society. The latter rain would effect a harvest from the whole earth. (The matter of these being those “which no one could count” cannot be addressed here.)
Thus we see clearly that this great multitude that is identified with, yet comes after, the attesting first Remnant, is the Elijah second Remnant who prepare the way for Yahshua’s return. And finally, once again we note that they come out of the great tribulation, the 3,000 year period of the church that is cut short to 2,000 years. Therefore, we see yet another evidence to the true place and duration of the great tribulation:
9. The Elijah second Remnant identified in Revelation 7:9-12 come out of the great tribulation, cutting its duration short from 3,000 years to 2,000 years.
Continue to page 5 of The Great Tribulation for GOSPEL COMPARISONS