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What Signs Must Take Place Before the Second Coming of Christ?
“But for the abominable and murderers, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 NASB 1977
‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22 NASB 1977
“Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah, and the other was named Puah; and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” Exodus 1:15-16 NASB 1977
It is important to know the identity of the people who will undergo the judgments of God, which will be poured out on “all of those” that are living throughout the whole world. These people, which were “left behind” from the rapture of the church, will not have been born again at the time of the catching up of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). They will be present during the time of the “Seventieth Week Of Daniel” (the time when the tribulation occurs) and will endure the judgments of God and will suffer from the oppressiveness of the anti-Christ” (Seventieth Week of Daniel – Daniel 9:27).
The events of this passage take place when the Great Tribulation is taking place, with the Judgments of God being poured out on the earth, during which time the anti-christ is persecuting those left-behind people who have come to know Christ as Lord and Savior; their identity is “earth dwellers,” and “those who dwell on the earth,” (identifying scriptures are listed below in the comments section).
Notice in Rev 14:6 that the angel is proclaiming the gospel of Christ to “those who dwell on the earth.” Let’s consider the belief of many people who the church will not be raptured from the earth, but will remain on earth during the tribulation. But, here is the problem with such a teaching. If those people who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, and have been born again, and find themselves on earth during the tribulation, but still must have the Gospel preached to them during the tribulation, they are having to accept Christ a second time. None of this scenario makes any sense. Those who will have already accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, prior to the rapture of the church, will have no reason to have the gospel preached to them again. Here is the truth of the matter. Believers in Christ, who have believed the gospel, prior to the rapture, will be taken from the earth, and will not be present during the tribulation. Those people, who have not accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, will stay behind on earth when the rapture of the church takes place. Those unbelievers will undergo the judgments of God and the oppression of the anti-Christ. God’s mercy will cause the angel to “proclaim the Gospel to those who dwell on the earth,” those of “every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Rev 14:6), which are those who are left behind.
The words, “dead in Christ,” (1 Thes 4:16) are key. “Dead in Christ” represents those believers in Christ who died, prior to the catching up/rapture of the saints (believers in Christ). The “dead in Christ,” will be caught up immediately before “we who are alive and remain,” (living believers in Christ) (1 Thes 4:17) who will also be caught up to be with Christ, “and shall always be with the Lord,” (1 Thes 4:17). In Rev 14:13, we see the words, “blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.” Such a statement refers to the ones who were “left behind,” those who had not accepted Christ as Savior, and had not been born again, prior to the rapture of the church, but who had come to accept His gospel while undergoing the Judgments of God and the torture and oppression of the anti-christ, during the Seventieth Week Of Daniel.
The events of this passage of scripture will take place during the “Seventieth Week Of Daniel.” We have discussed that subject, and will go back to it later, for greater understanding.
It is important for everyone to understand that anyone who has not been born again, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ dwelling within their spirit, anyone who does not know Christ as their Lord and Savior, will be among those people who are known as “earth dwellers,” and will be subject to the effects of the bowl judgments. There is no purpose for those of us who have been born again to endure the Judgments of God. Christ is the “bridegroom of all bridegrooms.” No bridegroom, such as Christ, will put His bride (the church/the born again believers in Christ) in the midst of such judgments of God. If there is no rapture of the church, consider the fact that every child will also be the subjects of the judgments.
Differences Between the Rapture & Second Coming
Babylon Is Fallen
1After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! And she has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3“For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”
4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues; 5for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6“Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. 7“To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.’8“For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
Lament for Babylon
9“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ 11“And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more; 12cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article madefrom very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, 13and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. 14“And the fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. 15“The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 17for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 19“And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 20“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
21And a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. 22“And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 23and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24“And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
Notes: Revelation – MacArthur Study Bible (Everyone should own a MacArthur Study Bible).
18:1 earth was illuminated with his glory. The fifth bowl (16:10) will have plunged the world into darkness. Against that backdrop, the sudden, blazing appearance of another angel (not the same as in 17:1, 7, 15) will certainly rivet the world’s attention on him and his message of judgment on Babylon (cf. 14:8).
18:2 Babylon the great is fallen. Cf. 14:8; see note on Is. 21:9, the verse from which these words come. The Gr. text views the results of this as if it had already taken place (see note on 14:8). But the seventh bowl is being referred to here and it is yet to come at this point (16:17–21). When it comes, devastation and annihilation will take place, leaving the place to demons.
18:3 wine…of her fornication. Religious Babylon (chap. 17) lures the nations into spiritual drunkenness and fornication with false gods (17:2, 4); commercial Babylon (chap. 18) seduces the unbelieving world into a materialistic stupor, so that the people of the world will become drunk with passion because of their relationship with Babylon. kings…merchants. Political rulers and corporate leaders alike are swept up in this worldwide system of commerce (14:8; 17:2).
18:4 Come out of her, my people. God will call His own to disentangle themselves from this evil system. This may also be God’s calling the elect to abandon the world system and come to faith in the Savior. In either case, the message is to abandon the system before it is destroyed (cf. 2 Cor. 6:17; 1 John 2:15). The judgment of God on that society living in sinful, arrogant self-indulgence can be avoided. Cf. Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s message to their people to leave Babylon (Is. 48:20; Jer. 50:8; 51:6–9, 45) (Elect, The children of Israel, Dr. John F. Walvoord commentary on Revelation).(Elect: the saved remnant of Israel, Dr. Merrill F. Unger, Matthew 24:22, Unger’s Commentary On The Gospels).
18:5 remembered. See 16:19. God does not remember the iniquities of His people (Jer. 31:34), but does remember to protect them (Mal. 3:16—4:2). For unrepentant Babylon, there will be no such forgiveness, only judgment..
18:6, 7a repay. The angel calls for God to recompense wrath to Babylon in her own cup to repay her according to her deeds (see note on 17:4). This is an echo of the OT law of retaliation (Ex. 21:24) which will be implemented by God (Rom. 12:17–21).
18:6 double. Has the sense of “full,” or “overflowing.” The punishment will fit the crime (cf. Jer. 16:18). cup. The cup of wickedness from which so many have drunk (14:8; 17:2, 4, 6) will call for the cup of wrath (14:10; 16:19).
18:7b am no widow. A proud, but empty, boast of self-sufficiency, also made by historical Babylon (Is. 47:8). Cf. 1 Cor. 10:12.
18:8 her plagues. These could include those of 16:1ff., but must be the special destruction of the city as well, described as “death, mourning and famine.” in one day. See vv. 10, 17, 19. The special judgments on Babylon take place in a brief period of time. Daniel 5:30 records that Babylon of old fell in one day.
18:9–20 This section records the lament over Babylon’s destruction, not her sin, by those who were part of her system.
18:9 kings. The political leaders of the world will weep because the loss of his capital city will signal the doom of Antichrist’s empire, and with it, the source of their power. Cf. v. 3; 17:2. weep and lament for her. “Weep” means “to sob openly.” “Lament” translates the same Gr. word used to express the despair of the unbelieving world at the return of Christ (1:7).
18:10 one hour. Cf. vv. 8, 17, 19.
18:12, 13 Over half of their commodities appear in the list of Ezek. 27:12–22.
18:12 purple. This refers to garments laboriously dyed with purple dye extracted from shellfish. Lydia (Acts 16:14) was a seller of such expensive garments. A distinctive mark of the Caesars was their purple robes. citron wood. Wood from North African citrus trees, highly valued because of its color, which was used to make extremely expensive pieces of furniture. marble. Marble, imported from Africa, Egypt, and Greece, was widely used in Roman buildings.
18:13 fragrant oil. A very costly perfume (cf. Matt. 26:7, 12; John 12:3). frankincense. A fragrant gum or resin imported from Arabia and used in incense and perfume (Song 3:6; Matt. 2:11). bodies and souls of men. The slave trade, long banned by the civilized nations of the world, will reappear in Antichrist’s debauched commercial system.
18:17 shipmaster. Ship captains will mourn the loss of Babylon and the lucrative transport business that went with it.
18:19 threw dust on their heads. An ancient expression of grief (cf. Josh. 7:6; 1 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:2; 15:32; Job 2:12; Lam. 2:10; Ezek. 27:30). in one hour. Not just 60 minutes, but one brief period of swift judgment (see note on v. 8).
18:20 God has avenged you on her. The angel will exhort the tribulation martyrs (6:9–11) to rejoice, not over the deaths of those doomed to eternal hell, but, because God’s righteousness and justice will have prevailed.
18:21 great millstone. Millstones were large, heavy stones used to grind grain. This metaphor portrays the violence of Babylon’s overthrow. Cf. Jer. 51:61–64; see note on Matt. 18:6.
18:22, 23 The fall of Babylon ends whatever semblance of normalcy will still exist in the world after all the seals, trumpets, and bowls. Life will be totally disrupted and the end near. No more music, no industry, no preparing of food (“millstone”), no more power for light, and no more weddings because God will destroy the deceivers and deceived.
18:24 blood of prophets and saints. The religious and commercial/political systems embodied in Babylon will commit unspeakable atrocities against God’s people (cf. 6:10; 11:7; 13:7, 15; 17:6; 19:2). God will avenge that slaughter of His people (19:2).
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Signs of the Last Days – Dr. Jimmy DeYoung
Bio – http://jimmydeyoung.com/aboutdrd.shtml
Dr. Renald Showers
Renald E. Showers is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished theologians in America. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University), he also holds a BA degree in history from Wheaton College, a ThM in church history from Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Showers spent many years as a university professor and served on the faculties of Lancaster School of the Bible, Moody Bible Institute, and Philadelphia College of Bible, as well as being a visiting lecturer and conference speaker around the world. For 27 years until his retirement in 2016, he served as a Bible teacher, author, and speaker for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., and a contributing editor for Israel My Glory magazine.
Dr. Renald Showers is an author and Bible teacher for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. He is the author of numerous books, including What on Earth is God Doing?, There Really Is a Difference, and Maranatha: Our Lord Come. Dr. Showers has served in the pastorate, and as a member of the faculties of Lancaster Bible College, Moody Bible Institute and Philadelphia College of the Bible, and as a visiting lecturer at Word of Life Bible Institute, Calvary Bible College and Baptist Bible Theological Seminary. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary. Dr. Showers and his wife Eleanor reside in Willow Street, Penn
MacArthur Study Bible Notes
Bio – Dr. John MacArthur – https://www.gracechurch.org/Leader/MacArthur/John?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1