Is Weird Weather a Sign of the End?

The second coming of Jesus will be preceded by seven years of catastrophe. The seven year tribulation will begin with the rise of a powerful leader who will consolidate world power into his hands and require everyone to worship him. During the seven years of tribulation the world will be rocked with earthquakes, wars, famines, plagues, darkness, demonic assault and Divine judgment. The earth will reel under the catastrophes of that time. Many people are interested in knowing when these things will begin. Many turn to the Bible looking for clues to know when the Great Tribulation is approaching. Some say changing weather patterns is evidence Jesus is about to return. Is an increase of extraordinary weather events a precursor to the Great Tribulation?

Many passages in the Bible describe events on earth during the tribulation, including Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21, Joel 2 and most of the book of Revelation. These passages all describe events after the tribulation has begun. None of them give specifics about the physical conditions of the world just before the tribulation except to say that the world will endure many troubles in the time between Jesus’ earthly life and the tribulation.

The Bible makes no statement about an increase of unusual weather events before the tribulation. The Bible is silent on the world’s weather before the tribulation. Scripture does promise in Genesis 8:22 that normal seasonal cycles will continue until the very end. “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

The book of Revelation reveals that the events of the tribulation are supernatural in origin. A gradual increase in natural disasters is not required to accommodate the horrendous catastrophes of the tribulation. An upswing in weird weather is not an indicator the tribulation is about to begin.

The only warning of the beginning of the tribulation will be the rapture of Christians. When all Christians are taken out of the world then the antichrist will rise to power and the worldwide catastrophes will begin, but then it will be too late for many. The Christian is not to concern himself with trying to figure out when Jesus will return, but is to live in his life in faithfulness and service he will be ready whenever the Lord comes for His people. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” ( 1Thessalonians 5:2-3, 6)

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What is the Mark of the Beast?

The mark of the beast is a favorite theme of prophecy enthusiasts. Speculation about the mark is rampant. Popular candidates for the mark of the beast include retail bar codes, credit cards, tattoos, RFID chips and worshiping on Sunday. The mark of the beast is discussed in Revelation 13 and mentioned again in Revelation 14.

The mark of the beast is a mark that everyone who worships the Antichrist will receive in their right hands or in their foreheads. Those who refuse to worship the Antichrist will not receive the identifying symbol. The mark of the beast is not received voluntarily. It will be required for any commercial transaction so those without the mark will be unable to buy or sell anything.

Imagine a worldwide government requires a specific form of identification for any commercial transaction. When people go to their local government office to receive the ID they must worship an image of the Antichrist before they will be given the required token. Any who refuse to worship the Antichrist will be denied the mark. This scenario is probably not be the way it will play out but the government of the Antichrist will in some way require all people to worship the Antichrist before they receive the mark of the beast.

The mark of the beast will be associated with the name and the number of the name of the Antichrist. Revelation 13:18 says the number of the Antichrist is six hundred sixty-six. The mark of the beast will bear some kind of direct relationship to 666, possibly it will be the number itself or in some way will include the number.

Will this mark be a tattoo, an embedded chip, a permanent sticker, a bioluminescent injection or some unimagined technological innovation? We don’t know. The Bible gives no other details about the nature of this mark because the technology used to give the mark of the beast is not important.

The most important aspect of the mark of the beast is its relationship to the worship of the Antichrist. All those alive when the Antichrist reigns will be divided into two clearly defined groups of people. The minority group will be those who trust Jesus for salvation and refuse to worship the Antichrist. They will not refuse the mark itself. They will refuse the worship of the Antichrist required to receive the mark. Because they refuse to worship the great world leader they will be sentenced to death and forbidden the mark of the beast.

The majority of mankind will receive the mark. They will reject Jesus and instead offer their worship to the Antichrist. They then will be allowed to buy and sell, but the Bible warns that all who receive the mark of the beast will suffer eternal torment in the lake of fire. (Revelation 14:9-11) Just to be clear, they will not be condemned by God because they have received the mark of the beast. They will be condemned by God because they rejected Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The evidence of their rejection of Jesus is their willingness to worship to Antichrist.

The mark of the beast will only appear in the second half of the Tribulation after the Antichrist has risen to power. It will be visible proof that a person has worshiped the Antichrist. The mark of the beast will be the clear dividing line between those who follow Jesus and those who reject Him. Only the saved will refuse the mark of the Antichrist because their allegiance is given to Jesus alone.

Who are the 144,000?

You might know someone who claims to be one of the 144,000. Probably you have met someone who claims to know who the 144,000 are and how to become part of their number. Are the 144,000 found in the Bible? Who are they? What will happen to them? Can you become one of their number?

The 144,000 are mentioned in the book of Revelation and can be found in two chapters- chapter 7 and chapter 14. The Bible does not give many particulars about this group. The book of Revelation does not give the least hint that a person can do anything to become part of their number.

In Revelation 7 the 144,000 are described as the servants of God with a seal on their foreheads that indicates they are His and protected by Him from the tribulations about to come upon the world. They are called the 144,000 because that is the exact number of individuals sealed unto God in this way. “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:4) These servants of God are of the descendants of Israel. Twelve thousand will be chosen from each one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Only biological descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in this group.

Revelation 14 adds a few more details to their description. “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” The one hundred forty-four thousand are pure Jewish men who have devoted themselves to God. They are marked out by God and are the first ones in the tribulation to trust Jesus for salvation. They are saved, sealed by God and sent out serve Him.

This group of men live completely dedicated to God. Contrary to how some present them, they men do not earn their place by their holiness. They are first chosen and sealed by God. Following their selection they then live Godly lives in a very wicked, dangerous time.

The selection of these men takes place during the time of the tribulation. No one today can claim to be part of this group. Only after the rapture of the church and the rise of the anti-Christ will God choose these men.

The brotherhood of 144,000 men does not receive a special place in the highest heaven that has been reserved for the very best. They are servants chosen by God to minister for Him during the tribulation. The 144,000 will remain faithful to Jesus throughout the tribulation. At the end of the tribulation they will stand on Mt. Zion with Jesus at His return. They will serve Jesus during His conquest over the armies of the antichrist and His establishment of the millennial kingdom.

What is the Battle of Armageddon?

Despite the fascination Armageddon holds for many people it is only mentioned by this name once in the Bible, Revelation 16:16. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” The book of Joel calls this same pace “the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14) because it is where God begins His final judgment on living humanity for their continual rebellion against Him.

The Battle of Armageddon is the great final battle between rebellious humanity and Jesus. The stage is set for the Battle of Armageddon by the rebellion of rulers in the antichrists empire who gather together in war against the him. The armies of the antchrist and the armies of the rebel kings end up Palestine. The Bible specifically says God orchestrated world events to draw all these forces together in the valley of Megiddo as the place where He would execute His judgment upon them. As these two great armies (probably the majority of the fighting forces in the world) face off, Jesus descends from Heaven to the Mt. of Olives. The armies of the world turn against Jesus, allying themselves together in their great hatred for Jesus. The armies of mankind meet the armies of God in battle at the valley of Megiddo.

The Battle of Armageddon does not appear to be a protracted war. It is the end a brief war between the antichrist and other nations of the world. The slaughter during the battle will be great but all one sided. The armies of rebellious mankind will be completely destroyed. Jesus will send a flesh eating plague on the armies attacking him. Those not killed by the plague will be confused by the Lord and will begin to fight and kill their own comrades. The antichrist and the false prophet will be captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire. The remaining enemy combatants will be killed by the word of Jesus ending the battle of Armageddon and establishing Jesus’ worldwide kingdom.

Though it comes at the end of a world war, the Battle of Armageddon is a not a great world war in which the armies of men gather together against one another and wreak havoc upon the earth. This battle of Armageddon is the final act of rebellion by men who have completely reject Jesus as God and Savior. The men in this battle will be given over to their rebellion against God and even the sight of Jesus returning to earth in His glory accompanied by a massive army of saints will not sway their hearts to believe.

What is the rapture?

In recent years the rapture has been brought to popular attention through the Left Behind series of books and movies. The rapture is a doctrine that has caught the public’s attention time and time again since the mid-1800’s. Though some opponents claim the rapture is a recent theological development, church history reveals the rapture was believed and taught very early in the second century just decades after the death of John, the last living apostle.

The rapture is the event when Jesus resurrects the bodies of believers who have passed away and carries off the earth all living believers. The rapture is the next event of world history that has been foretold in Bible prophecy. When the rapture happens every Christian on the earth will suddenly be gone. Some teach that the rapture will take place in waves, with faithful Christians going up at the beginning and others at later times during the Tribulation depending on how faithful they have been. The Bible gives no hint of a partial rapture. In every place it discusses the catching away of Christians the promises includes all believers. None of God’s children will be left behind. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, “We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together”. All living believers will be caught up with the Lord when He comes for His church. This is indeed a great comfort to Christians.

Three passages in the New Testament speak of the rapture: John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15: and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Two of the three passages are intended to give comfort to Christians and the third encourages faithfulness in Christian service. As a result, many questions about the rapture cannot be answered from direct Biblical teaching, Those who think about the rapture make many deductions based on other Bible doctrines and logical reasoning. When describing the rapture, great care needs to be taken to separate deduction and speculation from Biblical teaching.

The Bible describes the rapture as taking place with the shout of an archangel and the sound of an angelic trumpet. Jesus will descend from heaven into the earth’s atmosphere, but He will not descend all the way to the earth. All believers, living and dead, will then ascend into the air to be united with Jesus. At the rapture, all the saved will be transformed. Their physical bodies will be replaced with glorified, spiritual bodies. The change will happen more quickly than the eye can see. The raptured saints will then be taken into heaven and begin to enjoy eternal joy with the Lord.

Will the end times judgments be like Noah’s flood but harsher?

The return of Jesus will be preceded by a seven year period of time called the Tribulation. The book of Revelation gives significant detail about the events of that time. The tribulation is a time of God’s judgment on the world. Aside from the flood, the tribulation is the single greatest outpouring of God’s judgment on mankind for sin. The tribulation is the last great judgment of the nations of the earth. God promised in Gensis 9:11 that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Of all the horrible things that happen during the tribulation catastrophic flooding is never mentioned. Is the judgment of the tribulation like the judgment of the flood?

During the flood in Noah’s day, God destroyed every breathing thing on the earth except those in the ark. The flood began with 40 days of violent rains and the breaking up of the earths crust to release the fountains of the deep. The waters continued to rise for about six months until they covered the whole world. A little over a year after the beginning of the flood the earth was sufficiently dried and recovered for those on the ark to come out onto a transformed world.

Unlike the flood, the tribulation will last for seven years and none will be escape the horrors of that day. Unlike the flood, the tribulation will be made up of many different kinds of terrors. Some of the terrors will be natural, some economic and some demonic. Some will involve massive war, some will be men persecuting men, all will be the supernatural judgment of God. Revelation describes the catastrophes of the tribulation in such a way that it appears they will be a series of horrible events, some overlapping the others. The judgments of the tribulation will move the world forward to the final world war that will immediately precede the return of Jesus.

The troubles of the tribulation will be varied. They will include horrible famine, extensive war, earthquakes that overthrow mountains and rearrange geography, hundred pound hailstones that fall and fire that destroys a third of the trees and all grass on earth. One third of the ocean will be turned to blood, killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships on the seas. One third of the fresh water will become poisonous killing a third of humanity and later all the water in the oceans and rivers will be turned to blood. Men will be afflicted with horrible sores, burned by extreme heat from the sun and then terrified by the fall of sudden, painful darkness. The destruction will be celestial. The stars will fall from the sky, the sun will be blotted out, the moon turned red as blood, The horrors of that day will be so great men will hide themselves in caves and mountains to try to escape the destruction. God will release demons from their imprisonment to bring torments upon men and to lead massive armies into battle.

Estimates of the death tolls during the tribulation reach as high as 85% of humanity. Like the flood God’s wrath will wreak havoc on the world. As in the days of Noah God’s judgment on sin will be unleashed on humanity. The tribulation will be very different from the flood in its disasters, but most importantly it will be different in its purpose. The tribulation will not just be the execution of God’s wrath. The tribulation will bring about the restoration and repentance of the nation of Israel. The tribulation will prepare the world for the kingdom of Jesus and the final fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The flood was the second great earthly judgment on mankind, and the tribulation is the last. They share many similarities but have some very important differences that makes the tribulation a unique event in human history.