The purposes for the great tribulation are clearly stated in the book of Daniel chapter nine: to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place (vv. 24). Summarizing all, it is to make an end of wickedness and wicked ones. When YAHSHUA came in the period of the sixty-ninth weeks of the seventy weeks of years given to the Jewish nation, He took upon Himself the penalty of our sin and iniquity, He suffered the pain of the tribulation and of hell, so to deliver those who would accept Him. Those who believe in Him go through the process of regeneration, and sanctification and ultimately glorification through the new birth. As He told Nicodemus, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you that unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. God so greatly loved the world that He gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life; for God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe in Him is judged already, because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God; The [basis of the] judgment lies in this: The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works were evil” (John 3:16-19).
(Exodus 19:1-20; Hebrews 12: 18-29)
“For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched, that is ablaze with fire, and to gloom and darkness and a raging storm, and to the blast of a trumpet and a voice whose words make the listeners beg that nothing more be said to them” (Hebrews 12:18-19); “but rather, you have come to Mount Zion, even to the city of the living YAHWEH, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering, to the assembly of the first born whose names have been written in heaven, to YAHWEH, who is the judge of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, to YAHSHUA, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things that the blood of Abel” (Vs.22-24).
The difference between the experience at Mount Zion and Mount Sinai is worth noting for us to realize the wonderful grace of God toward us. When God came down to Mount Sinai to meet the people of Israel, He came expressing vehemently His holiness through fire, in a dense and black cloud that enveloped the mountain. At that time, He declared His covenant with the people and gave them the Ten Commandments. At that time, Israel had a glimpse of the extent of the holiness of God; and not being able to bear it, they begged Moses to speak to them, instead.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord. The blood shall be for a token or sign to you upon the houses where you are, when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:12-13).
The Lord God constituted Passover for Israel at the time when they left Egypt, as a memorial of their deliverance from bondage to Egypt and as a future signal pointing to YAHSHUA the Son of God, Who was to come as the perfect Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Before then, Jacob’s sons were not yet an established nation. They were residents in Egypt for many years, as in 430 years. God promised Abraham that after that frame of time, his descendants would leave for the Promised Land as He had promised him. When the new Pharaoh arose to power, who did not know Joseph, neither the background history why he and his brothers landed in Egypt, things changed for all of them. They no longer enjoyed the freedom they used to have, but were subjected to hard labor mercilessly. Theirs is a story of contrast: blessings and hardships, but God had a plan for the offspring of Abraham. Because Abraham believed God’s word, he was promised blessings upon him and his posterity. Choosing Moses with the help of his brother, Aaron to lead his people out of Egypt, God performed great miracles before Pharaoh through them to show Pharaoh that He was and is the only true God, above all the Egyptians’ gods. Pharaoh’s heart became hard with every judgment God sent to them, until the slaughter of all the males in the land of Egypt, for which Jacob’s sons’ families were sealed with the blood of the sacrificial lamb they had killed that day.
(Matt. 24:37-46; Luke 17: 26-30)
And [just] as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the time of the Son of Man; people ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, right up to the day when Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. So also as it was in the days of Lot. [People] ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heave and destroyed [them] all. That is the way it will be on the day that the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17: 26-30).
What does the days of Noah and the days of Lot exactly mean? Those days were defined by their increasing wickedness and God’s judgment that came upon them. The accounts of Noah’s days are described in Genesis chapter six. It reads, When men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of all they desired and chose. Then the Lord said, My spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man for he also is flesh; but his days shall yet be 120 years. There were giants on the earth in those days – and also afterward- when the sons of God lived with the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually, and the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. So the Lord said I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground- not only man, [But] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air- for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them (vs. 1-7).
The doctrine of the soul in an unconscious state until the resurrection is confusing because it is not consistent with many experiences registered in the Bible. It focuses primarily on passages where the word sleeping instead of death is used. However, when we read in the Bible the term sleep in death, it refers to the physical body- the material part, not the immaterial as the spirit of man. When the psalmists said, In death there is no remembrance of You; in Sheol who will give You thanks? (Ps. 6:5), he is referring to the dead ceasing to exist here on earth. The body will be decayed, but not the spirit. Absent from the body, Paul said, present with the Lord. Present with the Lord conscientiously with the soul’s faculties working while the material is buried and decayed. Paul also said, But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake (Phil. 1:23). Notice what Paul said, “To depart and be with Christ.” He did not say, and be in the state of unconsciousness until the resurrection. Again, he said, We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8). So the reality of the matter stands that when the spirit of a believer leaves the body the destination is “The presence of the Lord,” and not left sleeping somewhere. But for the unbeliever, sadly, his destination will be hell, as it is stated in the parable concerning a rich and a poor men, told by YAHSHUA: In time both died. The rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to heaven, carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. And in hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame… (Luke 16:19-31). This parable clearly refutes the doctrine of soul sleeping in death for both men: one in hell and the other in heaven. The first was in anguish in the flame of hell, for His soul was awake, feeling pain and torment, while his body was in the grave. His soul was not taking a nap while waiting for judgment. He was feeling the pains of hell right then. Abraham, while listening to the rich man had this to say: Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us … The dialogue continued. If their souls were sleeping, there would not have been a dialogue between them. There would not have been recognition of Abraham. Another example we find is when YAHSHUA went up on the mountain to pray; He took Peter, John and James with Him. And as He was praying, the appearance of His countenance became altered, and His raiment became dazzling white and behold, two men were conversing with Him- Moses and Elijah, who appeared in splendor and majesty and brightness and were speaking of is exit, which He was about to bring to realization at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-31). If Moses’s soul were sleeping he would not have had that experience with YAHSHUA. It would have been impossible for a sleeping soul to be talking, and to be aware of YAHSHUA. Another example we find at Calvary when one of the repentant criminals asked YAHSHUA to remember him when He came into His kingdom. YAHSHUA right then affirmed him: Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 3:43). He did not say, after the resurrection, you will be with in Paradise, but “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light for their works were evil (John 3:19b).
We all have experienced some time in our life, one way or another, the effect of physical darkness. Voided of light, darkness grabs and handicaps us with fear, panic, and anxiety. We feel lost, not knowing where we are and how to get somewhere. People associate darkness with the presence of evil, as in Satan and his demons, rightly so. The feelings of fear, panic, anxiety attacks are feelings that express the presence of evil spirits in the environment. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind (I John 4:18). Darkness is blindness. When we are used to the darkness, we find difficulty adjusting to the light. The eyes water and hurt to some extent until we become accustomed to the light. In other ways, light exposes evil deeds. It hides nothing that seems invisible.
Pharaoh had two dreams two of the same. It is a dream of prophetic extension to the end times. God revealed to a Gentile “what He is about to do” and is going to do in the far future. Seven fat cows and seven undernourished ones; seven ears [of grain] plump and good; seven ears withered and thin were Pharaoh dreams, which caused him unsettledness of spirit. He was eager to understand the dreams, but not one of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret them.
Two full years had passed since Joseph had interpreted the butler’s dream while both were in jail. The butler promised to mention him to Pharaoh when released from jail. But as it was, he forgot Joseph’s request and went on with his life. However, God hadn’t forgotten him. His purpose for Joseph’s life was going to be fulfilled in His time. Pharaoh’s dreams were the link to get Joseph out of jail. Not one day late, not one day early. He was only seventeen when sold to the Egyptians; thirteen years of struggles and unfairness toward him had passed. God in His sovereignty saw fit to exalt Joseph when he was ready. At the age of thirty, he was presented to King Pharaoh, who exalted him to greatness.
The land and the earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly pillaged; for the Lord has said this (Vs.3). This chapter of Isaiah is a mini book of Revelation. Throughout the Old Testament God’s future judgements are predicted ultimately to destroy the earth and its wicked people with it. It is His final measure to deal with the stubborn, rebellious people. When this period of grace is past, His wrath will dominate the world and none who have rejected Him will escape. It will be merciless, with vengeance and no turning back. We see in this chapter, the character of His judgements, and the extent of it in verses 1-3: The scope of His judgements will include all peoples and all class of people. It shall be with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with this 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 creditor, so with the debtor. No class of people will escape with the exception of those who have accepted Him. YAHSHUA said, For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth. But for those who have accepted Him He gave a word of warning: Keep awake then and watch at all times, praying that you may have the full strength and ability to escape all these things, that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man (Luke 21:35-36).
(Genesis 7: 11-13, 23; Matthews 24: 37-39; I Thessalonians 5:3)
For just in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away….(Matt. 24: 38-39)
They did not know, consequently, they suffered. The phrase, They did not know implies lack of knowledge about something. Or does it? One can hear something without giving heed, or paying attention to, or not believing it. YAHSHUA uses this as an illustration in Matthews 7: 24-27. He said, So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them will be like a sensible man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and great and complete was the fall of it. These two men heard the message. One acted upon it and was saved; the other ignored and suffered the consequences because his heart was hard. They both heard, they both had a choice to accept or not, and both made their decision.
Daniel was a young man when taken captive to the land of Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in approximately 604 B.C. He was from a noble family. His name bears the meaning God is my judge. Through the entire time Daniel lived in that foreign land, he displayed faithfulness to God. His testimony before King Nebuchadnezzar always gave credit to God for his success in the interpretations of dreams, even before he went as far as to interpreting the dreams.