Title: The Beginning of Sorrows
Plot: Reviews what Jesus said about the Beginning of Sorrows
Notes: With a cursory examination of the three rapture theories
Listen to "The Beginning of Sorrows" on Spreaker.
Hey, Welcome Back!
As I'm sure you can imagine, it is hard to be a podcaster in times like these. I started podcasting because I wanted to make a difference in your life. I wanted your life to be better. That's why these messages are free, and that's why I work hard to give you a revelation, some entertainment, and possibly even reveal an area where you can do some work in order to get some growth and benefit.
And so when I find myself in the middle of a Coronavirus pandemic wondering if this is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse. It's hard to make a podcast that promotes the idea of a better life. And so perhaps I must settle for better visibility.
I'm sorry if I've made mistakes in the way I've handled this situation. I'd like to pretend I know the answer to all of life's questions, but this whole mess had me reeling for a while. At first disbelieving it and then later considering the possibility we are watching prophecy unfold before our very eyes.
I've read many things in my lifetime and yet I find myself re-asking questions that I've already answered. And so maybe my attempt to remind myself will inform some of you.
I think I would be a fool to overlook a message the Bible repeats which is, "Repent for the end is nigh." And after you repent being careful to consider all of your sins, I suggest you indulge in the sacrifice of praise. I talk about the Sacrifice of praise in my podcast called the Miracle in the Scarlet Car. It's the idea that even when things look bleak, like when Paul and Silas were in prison. It's never too late or a bad idea to sing praise songs to God. The combination of repenting and praising is a powerful one! One that I highly recommend particularly in times like these.
I know. I know. This isn't the funnest of topics that I've ever done a podcast on. It was my intention to focus on fun entertaining podcasts.
And so perhaps as a compromise, before we dive into the message entitled the Beginning of Sorrows, I'll kickoff a somewhat grim topic with an amusing but related story. So here we go:
Fourteen years ago I bought a rental property. However, before I bought it, I had an inspection done and I met the tenants. I told them, I wanted them to be forthcoming with everything that was wrong with the place because I hate surprises. I said I don't mind walking into a train-wreck so long as I know it's a train-wreck and I wanted this property, but tell me what I'm walking into. After finishing that statement, the woman in charge of the business said, "Oh, there's nothing wrong with this place! We love it!"
I had never heard anyone say that before, and so I poked and prodded: "Don't you want upgrades? How are the tenants upstairs?" She assured me that she loved the tenants upstairs and that they loved the place just the way it was.
Dumbfounded I looked at her coworkers, they nodded in agreement. And I thought, "Wow. That just never happens!"
Now As I'm sure you've already guessed, one week after closing on the property, that same woman called me and she said, "Tom, you've got to do something about the tenants upstairs! I think they're drug dealers!" And I said, "What makes you say that?" And she said, "Well, for months, they've had strangers knocking on their door, and they go inside for five minutes and then leave. It's really suspicious!"
And I said, "For months? You told me three weeks ago you loved the neighbors and there was nothing wrong with the place."
And she said, "I know. But we really liked you and we wanted you to buy the building. And we were afraid if we told you the truth, you wouldn't."
I of course was shocked. And I reminded her that I told her I hated surprises, that I emphasized that. And that I assured her I was going to buy the place no matter what, I just wanted to know what I was walking into. And she said, "I know, I'm really sorry. But we can't have drug dealers upstairs, it's disrupting our business. And so can you throw them out, please?"
And so I share this story because of the nature of this podcast. This is a bad news podcast. But I'm doing you, my beloved podcast listeners, the favor of being honest. As honest at least as I am able, given the circumstances.
Before diving in, I would like to welcome my newest followers:
Perignon White (hopefully I said that correctly)
and pbg, I'm gonna just call you pbg for short, okay?
I've also got 12 new followers on Spotify. Welcome to the channel! I hope you all will be patient with me as I learn from my mistakes and we hopefully grow together.
Today's message is entitled the beginning of Sorrows. And so this review is another topical Bible book review. Because it would be impossible to review the entire Bible in one podcast.
I felt like that title reflects the general emotional state of the world right now. It would seem that the Great Depression has nothing on the beginning of sorrows. Because the world has never seen anything on the scale of this Coronavirus situation, being world-wide in nature and both disruptive and fear-mongering. And our communication systems being able to inform us so quickly. We are standing at the precipice of something new.
It was Jesus who coined the expression the beginning of sorrows. I'll share the Scripture with you now:
Matthew 24:3-8, says:
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Now if you have listened to my series on the Eusebius Ecclesiastical History of the Church, then you know that most of what Jesus described actually happened in the days of the apostles after he ascended. Even the abomination of desolation happened nearly two thousand years ago. And so that's useful for three reasons:
- You can get details for what's about to happen by reviewing what already has happened in those podcasts;
- It informs us that history repeats itself, potentially suggesting this too might not be the end end;
- And it's a good reminder that every generation since Christ thought they were in the end times, and now we can see how convincing that impression is, based on what we are experiencing right now.
I believe God does this to give every generation ample opportunity to repent and turn to him before the die so they have the best possible shot of making it to heaven. That is both graceful and merciful. However, in this case, the technology already exists to fulfill every last prophecy in the Bible. With only one exception that I know of: and that is the rebuilding of the temple. The temple would need to exist for total fulfillment of Scripture in this generation. But that's not to say it couldn't be built quickly because we know it could provided the legal stumbling blocks were removed.
Scripture warns us that the antichrist will in fact, come before Jesus Christ. Ruling and pretending to be Christ, before Christ actually comes. And he will be embraced and viewed as the savior of the world, but it's a trick. At best he's merely saving us from himself by dialing back the carnage that he himself causes, making it seem like he made things better by giving us a respite from him making things worse.
If you really want to get into the details of what the beginning of Sorrows would be like, then I suggest you listen to Part 5 and Part 6 of my Eusebius Ecclesiastical History series. It's... umm... horrifying. And so it puts the Great Tribulation in perspective. Because if that's worse then the beginning of sorrows, then we're talking about serious ugliness. And of course I have links to those podcasts in the Full Transcript of this message on my website.
The beginning of sorrows precedes the Great Tribulation.
There are three schools of thought when it comes to the rapture. Some people think the church will be raptured out of the world before it gets rough. That group is known as the pre-trib group. As you would expect the next group is mid-trib and they believe the rapture will happen during the tribulation. And the final group is the post-trib group. The Bible describes people on the earth being lifted up into the air to meet Christ when he comes on the clouds to destroy evil.
I am of the opinion that at least two of those groups are right. I believe the Bible describes at least two rapture scenarios. The first one is when he comes like a thief in the night. And I believe the result of that visitation is the scene described in...
Revelation 7:9-14. I'll read it to you:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs 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 addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
So the key expression in that Scripture was:
These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.
Implying that the mid-trib group must be right, because it's stated in Scripture in plain English. You can't be more clear than that.
Clearly there is also a scene where Christ comes on the clouds and the Christians are caught up to meet him. I'll read that to you now, it comes from...
1 Thessalonians 4 : 13 - 18 which says,
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Now if we look in Revelation the scene where Christ comes on the clouds happens toward the end of the book. Implying this is one of the final events, and of course that must be so because one of the final things that's going to happen is that evil will be defeated. So even if you're one of the people who argues that the Book of Revelation doesn't go exactly in order, you must acknowledge that one of the last things to happen will in fact be the total defeat of evil.
So two things were described that imply a rapture to me. The first scene where people arrive in heaven in white robes from every nation praising God. And the second scene where God returns on the clouds and people are caught up to him the living and the dead. And I view that as a victory dance over the forces of evil.
And also since people will become Christian during the Great Tribulation it makes sense that after removing some, others would be born who would also need to be raptured. And yet, I suspect there is also a third rapture. Father, son and Holy Ghost, three days in the belly of the earth, three raptures... that just seems reasonable. Those who are pre-trib often quote:
Revelation 3:10 which says,
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
There really is no reason to test those who are already Christian apart from purifying them. The question though is what about one Christian ministering to an unbeliever? Meaning if God removes the Christians, then who will lead the people on earth to Christ?
I have been leading people to Christ, and I notice that it seems like it's gotten a little harder lately. Making me wonder if there is value in keeping Christians here under these conditions. Because an angel of the Lord does fly through the heavens declaring the gospel in the last days and the world does have Bibles and computers and podcasts and youtube videos. Certainly that should suffice in this regard, right? So long as someone wrote books, podcasts and Youtubes people can use to come to Christ, and are the rest of us really needed then in person?
I think the remedy for the bull-headedness is less about Christians proclaiming the gospel and more about God pouring out his wrath on the earth. God's wrath has a way of inserting a crowbar into a stubborn mind to bring about repentance. It might be painful, but it's an act of mercy because he doesn't want to see anyone burn in hell. The Bible says hell was created for the devil and his angels. And so really the only people who will end up there are those who insist on going there, rejecting Christ, or serving and worshipping the devil and his angels.
C.S. Lewis once said that "the gates of hell are locked from the inside."
Meaning people send themselves to hell. Because Scripture tells us that salvation is a free gift from God not of works lest any man should boast.
The fourth horseman of the apocalypse brings pestilence, which could be the Coronavirus. Particularly since the Bible says the fourth horseman is given authority over one fourth of the earth and when I look at maps of the affected areas, geographically it does look like one fourth of the earth is being hit the hardest with this virus. However, this could also be a numerical prophecy instead of a geographical one, implying it would take 1.5 billion people or so.
But this comes back to the question of timing because the first horseman of the apocalypse is believed to be the antichrist who starts wars. Certainly the antichrist hasn't been unveiled yet, because I don't know of a world leader claiming to be Jesus Christ. If we either assume that fulfillment of that prophecy doesn't require him to reveal himself, and that he works in the background then it's possible he is the puppet-master behind all the wars in the world and has already come and is already here.
I have seen articles that suggest these horseman events are quick. And so the destruction of one third of the earth through war implies a mass nuclear extinction event. But in my mind it would take a horseman a while to travel across a third or fourth of the earth and so if God wanted to illustrate a faster event, he would have commissioned angels for that. In a race between an angel and an F-18. I would expect an angel could do several laps around the earth in the time it takes an F-18 to fly across one third or one fourth of it.
I don't think I need to convince anyone that the beginning of sorrows has begun. I will remain positive, but I won't burry my head in the sand. So at this point I've seen enough evidence to suggest that it is prudent to stay home. And avoid worrying so that your immunities aren't diminished by higher levels of stress. And you may want to hunker down for a marathon so you don't wear yourselves out prematurely.
God bless us all, every one!
That's all folks!
Y'all come back now, ya here?
Podcasts mentioned in this message
Listen to "The Miracle in the Scarlet Car [16 Mins]" on Spreaker.
Part 5 Listen to "Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History Part 5 [28 Mins]" on Spreaker.
Part 6 Listen to "Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History Part 6 [20 Mins]" on Spreaker.