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Immediately preceding Jesus’ Second Coming is “The Tribulation” (Revelation 6-16), a time where God will pour out his wrath against those who stubbornly refuse to repent of their sins and receive his gracious free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ (Revelation 9:20-21, Revelation 16:9). (See “Message“.)
Revelation 6-16 records a series of End Times judgments: 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 bowls. It begins with the opening of the first 4 seals, which are “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, and concludes with an angel pouring out the seventh bowl of God’s wrath. These judgments begin prior to what is technically referred to by some as “The Great Tribulation”, a time period of 3.5 years when the latter of these judgments will be executed. (While my artwork is entitled “The Tribulation”, it encompasses all 21 judgments and not just those included in what some refer to as “The Great Tribulation”)
So what are some of these judgments?
While the full list can be found in Revelation 6-16, I will only mention some of the things that will happen: conquest, war, famine, death, a third of the earth being burned up, poisoned drinking water which kills many, a third of mankind killed by plagues, painful sores on all those who take the Mark of the Beast, every living thing in the sea dies, men will long to die but will not be able to, a great earthquake that levels the mountains, tsunamis that wipe out all the islands, hailstones of about 45 kg (100 pounds) each. The Bible warns that about 2/3 of mankind will be destroyed during this time, and the earth will be utterly devastated.
In one of my End Times dreams which was given in August 2007 (listed below), I believe I saw what might have been a small slice of God’s wrath being poured out during the Tribulation. Yet what tiny portion I witnessed, it is nothing compared the fullness of the judgments described in the Scriptures. Despite the fact I saw so little, it is actually impossible for me to convey the incredible immensity of the destruction and loss of life I saw. The only possible way I could describe it would be in Jesus’ own description of the Tribulation, “For then there will be great distress [tribulation], unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
If God is so loving, then why would he send this kind of wrath on mankind?
God’s righteous wrath comes justly on account of our sin.
However, God does not delight in sending his wrath on people, for he is a loving and redemptive God “…who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men…” (1 Timothy 2:4-5).
“For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32)
Although God is immensely loving, he is also perfectly holy and perfectly just. His perfect justice demands that we be punished for our sins which is death and eternal separation from him in hell (Romans 6:23). Those who refuse to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus at the time of the Tribulation will also experience the fullness of God’s wrath that will be poured out at that time (Revelation 9:20-21, Revelation 16:9).
Sadly, every single one of us has sinned against God; therefore, all of these terrible judgments are only what we justly deserve (Romans 3:23). The great news is that God deeply loves us and longs to completely save us from our sins and his wrath for, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Out of his great love he provided the way for us to be reconciled to him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
God sent his Son, Jesus, to live the perfect, sinless life that none of us could live. Then he took all of our sins upon himself and paid the punishment for them through his death on the cross. He rose from the dead, making it possible for us to be forgiven, redeemed, reconciled to God and saved from his wrath.
Mentally agreeing with this truth, however, is not enough to save us.
In order to make this ransom effectual, we must individually appropriate it through trusting in Jesus in our hearts:
First you must confess and turn away from all your sins.
Second, you must place your faith in Jesus, trusting that he has personally paid the punishment for your sins (past, present and future) through his death on the cross. (See “Message“.)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
While God’s justice demands wrath for sin, the God’s mercy pardons those who repent and place their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer. Those who do this will enter into a loving personal relationship with God and will be granted eternal life. They will also be saved from hell and from the wrath of God that will be poured out during the Tribulation. This is because Jesus fully bore the wrath of God on the cross for all those who have believed in him and personally accepted him as their Savior.
“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
*An (inevitable) note on my dream(s):
When I first became a Christian, I was taught by my pastors to believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, so I accepted that position for years without really thinking about it. Because of their teaching, I am familiar with the Scriptures and arguments that support that view.
However, in every End Times dream I have had thus far (I would estimate around 30), I have always observed what appears to be us believers going through the Tribulation.
As the Israelites were preserved in Goshen while God was pouring out his judgments on Egypt (Exodus 8:22-23) and as Noah and his family were preserved in the ark while the flood raged around them and destroyed the ungodly (Genesis 7:17) and as Lot and his daughters were alive (and safe) even as God rained down burning sulfur on the cities behind them (Genesis 19:23-25), so also in my dreams I have seen this same sort of principle–God preserving believers while he is pouring out his wrath on the unbelievers (similar to 2 Peter 2:4-9).
In my dreams, it seems like the same fire of God (the enormously hot pressure of the events of the Tribulation) which comes as a consuming fire to devour the chaff (destroy the wicked) (like Luke 3:17) comes to the righteous as a mighty refining fire (to purify the saints) (Malachi 3:1-4, Daniel 11:33-35). When I say this, I don’t mean the judgments themselves fall upon the righteous, for Christ has borne the fullness of God’s wrath against believers on the cross (Romans 8:1-4). “For God did not appoint us [believers] to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Rather, what I mean is that the stressful pressure of being alive while these events are happening works like a mighty refining fire within the saints. See also Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. In my dreams the righteous are always preserved and protected even as the ungodly are being destroyed all around them.
Seeing Christians going through the Tribulation in every End Times dream I had (that is, each dream that featured the Tribulation–which is most of them) caused me to go back into the Scriptures and study the timing of the Rapture for myself because what I saw in my dreams conflicted with what my pastors taught me as a young, unstudied believer.
Furthermore, I am always open to God’s Spirit correcting my understanding of Scripture–so long as it’s Scriptural (John 5:36-40)! I also know that God sometimes uses dreams, visions, etc. to reveal truth and to correct our misunderstandings of the Scriptures (This is what happened in Acts 9:1-31, Acts 10:9-23). (True dreams, visions and prophecies from the Lord will NEVER contradict the Scriptures). I cannot deny the way God has used these dreams to powerfully impact me and refine me in holiness, which is the genuine fruit and evidence of God’s Spirit working.
With all that in mind, I dove into the Scriptures without any bias about the timing of the rapture in relation to the Tribulation (I only wanted the truth), and the Scriptures seemed to speak for themselves loudly and clearly of a post-tribulation rapture (the position I now hold). When I read them without my pre-indoctrination glasses on, I was shocked at how clearly the Scriptures presented a post-tribulation rapture. I couldn’t believe how I had always missed it before.
Perhaps the most blatant Scriptural support of a post-tribulation rapture is in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17: “…we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord [the coming of the Lord happens after the Tribulation ends–Revelation 6-19]… will be caught up together [raptured]…to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15,17).
For those who would like to study this issue more, here is an excellent article that explains the Scriptural support behind a post-tribulation rapture. It is both concise and quite comprehensive, and it focuses on the Scriptures, not opinions. It also explains some of the Scriptural difficulties with the pre- and mid-tribulation views. This article sums up many of the conclusions I also came to through my own personal study of the Scriptures.
One thing all of us believers can rejoice in, regardless of our positions on the timing of the rapture, is this: Jesus has borne the full wrath of God for us, and there is no wrath left over for us to take. GLORY, HONOR AND THANKS BE TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND GOD OUR FATHER!!!
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
An End Times dream given in August 2007 and my thoughts on it (As originally recorded, with a couple small, later revisions):
Last night I prayed earnestly and deeply and asked the Lord to fill me with his heart of love for the lost and to reignite my zeal to see people saved from eternal destruction.
For a little while now, I’ve felt like I’m living in an unreal world–one where I’ve been lulled to spiritual sleep by the day in and day out routine of a lifestyle of the material blessings and the ‘peace’ and ‘security’ that comes in the affluent Western nations (much like Sodom and Gomorrah). I earnestly prayed he would wake me up and bring me back into the real world (of his Word where heaven and hell are impending realities).
I prayed this because in my mind (and from his previous powerful warnings) I know the time is short, but my heart has become dull to it. Recently, I’ve been getting sidetracked here and there by the worries and cares of this life and by the world. It is not anything extremely major, but it’s enough to be detrimental. Though my mind knows of the final judgment awaiting everyone (including myself) my heart has become a bit impassionate for the unsaved and for the desires and plans in the heart of God that he wants me to carry out…before this mist of a life of mine vanishes.
God answered my prayer through a powerful and dreadful dream about the End Times and the coming Tribulation. I physically trembled and felt ill because of the magnitude of its terror and power and the immensity of grief over such massive destruction and loss of life. In saying this, I am not going beyond what is written. I am simply stating the REALITY of the Word of God. Jesus himself says, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22)
I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this dream, terrible as it was, is from God. He has definitely answered my prayers, awoken me from my spiritual slumber and re-ignited a heart of love for the perishing!
I am not sure exactly where the dream begins because life seemed to be going on as normal. I was in a museum with a nurses’ office (OK, so that’s a little weird). I began to see person after person at the musuem start to suffer from severe asthma attacks until there were an abnormal amount of people all at once. At first we (the other visitors to the museum) didn’t even really notice them walking by in their suffering, but then eventually we did and began to become concerned.
The distressing thing was that when these sufferers went to the nurses’ office, the nurses told them that they were just minor asthma attacks, and they were fine. However, these people began to turn red and purple and were near cardiac arrest and suffocation because of their severity. Because of the false reassurance these nurses gave, however, these people continued on their way even though they would surely soon be dead.
Others visitors in the museum (myself included) looked in great distress because we could clearly see they were going to die and that they were being misled by the ‘professionals’ into their deaths. However, because we were ordinary people in the museum and not health care professionals we were scared to do anything for these people. Inside we all knew that the nurses were wrong and if we didn’t help these people they’d surely die and that time was of absolute essence if they were to be saved.
We talked amongst each other about doing something to help them, but we were all too fearful, assuming ourselves too unprofessional and unqualified in order to be able to truly help them, and so we did nothing. Though the nurses were blatantly wrong, some of us tried to twist things around to make ourselves look wrong and the nurses look right (because that’s the way it should be–though it wasn’t in reality.) Our minds couldn’t reconcile why the nurses would be wrong in these life and death situations, especially given that it was the nurses’ very profession to save and restore life.
I visited the nurses’ office and the entire staff was there, overloaded, very stressed and agitated trying to care for more people than they possibly could. It dawned on me that I was in Hobart, Tasmania, and everyone had Australian accents. Amongst them was an old widow who had asked me in a very early part of the dream for a glass of apple juice. I had forgotten about her and so she asked me again, desperately in need of a drink. Ashamed, I approached a nurse to help me get her one. The nurse snapped at me and got angry and told me how overloaded she was trying to care for everyone.
I felt ashamed for forgetting this old widow in such a simple task. Not only did the nurses overlook her, but I did too. Furthermore, the widow had asked me, not the nurses, to get her a drink. This Scripture came to mind: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
There was a strong sense of impending doom and destruction coming of vast proportions.
I don’t have full spiritual understanding of this first part of the dream, but I venture to guess that the asthma sickness unto death stands for sin unto eternal death.
Jesus says: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31)
The sufferers are unbelievers. It’s my guess that the nurses were symbolic of either one or two groups of people (maybe both). They may have been people of the world who were trained to counsel people from a secular worldview and who disregard the true nature of all the world’s problems–that they are fundamentally spiritual and the result of sin (of which the remedy is faith in Jesus), OR they may have been various prominent members of the ‘church’ and trained clergy who preach a false gospel or a ‘gospel’ so watered down that it cannot effectively save these people. Their advice led to the death of many, many people.
The fearful bystanders were those of us who know the true gospel (salvation from sin by grace through faith in Christ Jesus– Ephesians 2:8-9– See “Message“ ) but are afraid to preach it because we are ‘nobodys’ in the church. However, our fatal pause (out of fear) actually proved fatal to countless other people as they died all around us.
Matthew 23, the chapter leading up to Jesus’ great End Times discourse, Jesus says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Woe to you, blind guides!” (Matthew 23:13-16)
The next part of my dream that I remember, I was in a car driving toward my beloved hometown of Minneapolis (metro area population of 3 million). I was still about 10km (6.5 miles) away from downtown, but I could see deep, dark blue clouds approaching the city from the opposite direction. I stared at them for a long time as I was driving towards the city, but they grew at such a rapid pace it was supernatural. The blue clouds turned so dark they became black and filled the horizon.
The horrific realization came over me that this was no ordinary violent thunderstorm, but it was of such immense proportions that everything in its path would be completely decimated. Minneapolis would be completely obliterated as would every other city in the USA I thought. The downtown Minneapolis skyline was soon dwarfed by the gargantuan storm that nearly filled the entire horizon.
Deeply, deeply distressed I fixed my eyes on the city lights of the skyscrapers. Building after building began to disappear under the sheets of rain, wind and dark clouds. My heart was breaking and bleeding as I watched the city lights on the skyscrapers, like stars in the sky, begin to shake. The feeling was so dreadful, that I didn’t want to admit to myself the loss of life that was going to happen in the next second as these skyscrapers, one after another, filled with people–my old classmates, old friends, former co-workers and employers, teammates, people from my hometown, and God absolutely forbid, my family–come down one after another. Every single building was surely going to be leveled just like they are in a toranado. Except this ‘tornado’s’ width was exponentially larger. There would be nothing left of this entire city of 3 million, it would be torn down to its foundations in a matter of seconds.
Inside I couldn’t handle the sight any longer, the immensity of the destruction and loss of life were going to be of unfathomable proportions–like nothing ever seen or imagined. God in his mercy spared me the sight, but in my heart I knew… The last thing I saw was the city lights shaking as the skyscrapers tottered (and would soon come down) in the violence of the storm…
I honestly don’t think we realize the magnitude of Jesus’ words when he said, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
I certainly didn’t realize the magnitude of Jesus’ words, but I know that I know that I know that God’s Word is true and that this word of Jesus’ will certainly come to pass.
In the next part of the dream, I was with my family and family friends inside a skyscraper in Duluth, the port city on Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. (It is one of the Great Lakes and is located in the north central United States.) This skyscraper seemed to be my family’s home. In real life, it is where some of my extended family lives.
In this part of the dream, the storm was coming and people knew it. Without going into great detail, I went to the top of the sky scraper and saw waves crashing over the tops of smaller skyscrapers. I screamed and screamed because Lake Superior was roaring and tossing such large waves, they were about 20-24 stories high. They were battering the city of Duluth and engulfing whole buildings. They were also starting to batter the skyscraper we were all in. The waves and ‘ocean’ (lake) surges were engulfing the city. “On the earth [at the time of the tribulation], nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26).
The storm came at such a supernatural rate, like a thief in the night and so unexpectedly and instantaneously THAT NO ONE POSSIBLY HAD A CHANCE TO PREPARE FOR IT. All of a sudden, it was upon them. Just a breath earlier, everyone in the Western world was going on with their normal lives saying, ‘peace and safety’ and then all of a sudden destruction was upon them and massive loss of life.
“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed [returns]…” (Luke 17:26-30)
Some however, when they realized that the storm was upon them, could be saved if they reacted immediately. However, if they delayed (going back into their house to get something), it would prove fatal and it would cost them their lives…quite literally.
In my dream, I was begging my family and everyone around me to flee immediately. However, my family and my family’s friends went to collect one or two dear things tucked away in another part of the skyscraper. Though they only wanted one or two things (which would be of no value anyway after the entire city was decimated) and it would only take a split second to grab them, that short delay would prove fatal. That time was extremely valuable–of far greater value than anything material we could have saved–it meant the difference between life and death.
“…’On that day no one who is on the roof of his house with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.’ ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked. He replied, ‘Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” (Lk 17:31-37)
I realized the spiritually dead will make choices (especially in the perilous End Times/Tribulation hours, where this verse is in context) that will lead to their actual physical death. Those who hesitate and look back (like Lot’s wife) will actually be physically destroyed. Their hesitation and love for this world will cost them everything.
This seemed remarkably similar to and reminded me of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-19:29):
“With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’ When they hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:15-17)
Jesus said, “‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’
And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.’” (Luke 12:15-21)
Though in real life we do not have a maid, in my dream our family had one. A family member sent her to go throw something away outside. I argued with them against it because there was no time, but I was rebuked. I then turned to the maid and begged her not to go outside because she would be swept away in the waters. I begged her to come join my family and flee in our van together. One of my family members shouted at me that all the seats were full and there was no room for her, so I offered my place to our maid. I knew if the family did not leave now, they would all perish, including the maid.
I knew I would certainly physically perish in the storm; however, I also knew I would surely go to heaven…I wasn’t so sure the maid and my family would go to heaven if they perished though. The maid agreed but quickly went to throw this thing away out the ‘back door’, then she’d come back into the van and escape. In giving up my place to the maid, I was ostracized by my unsaved family, and the rejection hurt terribly.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” (Matthew 10:34-36)
Only Jesus stood with me in my rejection. We waited a moment for the maid to return, but we soon realized that she had been swept away to her death.
I was absolutely amazed at how supernaturally rapidly the storm came upon everyone. There was absolutely no chance to prepare for it when it was upon you.
YOU HAD TO BE PREPARED BEFOREHAND!
One great realization that I also had was that: The Western ‘church’ is asleep–just like the 10 virgins at the coming of Christ.
I am asleep and so are countless others. So many of us have become drowsy and have lost our sobriety, alertness and watchfulness. I was always amazed that all 10 virgins managed to fall asleep in Jesus’ parable, but it is so true–not one was awake at his coming. We must be prepared beforehand–we must have oil with us now because it will be too late when he is comes!
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom [Jesus]. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Later the others also came, ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13)
Amen and Amen. We do not know the day or the hour. THEREFORE, WE MUST BE PREPARED BEFORE THE HOUR, SO THAT WHEN IT COMES WE WILL BE SAFE. OTHERWISE IT WILL BE TOO LATE.
I also realized that many of us Christians will mourn over our unbelief at that time.
The reality of this dream had so much impact when it collided into me, I was appalled at my own unbelief. In the Scriptures, Jesus marveled at the peoples’ unbelief, and he also remarked, “However, when the Son of Man comes [When Jesus returns], will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
I began to mourn and think of the many other Christians who will mourn at that time because they allowed themselves to be sidetracked their whole lives into the world and into temporal things. I really tend to think there will be great mourning on that Day and great regret over wasted and squandered lives. “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19:30).
“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” (Revelation 1:7)
Another Scripture that really came to mind was:
“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.” (Malachi 3:2-4)
Realizing just how unbelieving I and the vast majority of the Christians in the West are made me also realize how much instant refining we will go through at his Second Coming. The Levites, that is, we Christians, will be refined from our unbelief and from the impure slurry of our lifestyles.
It is wise for us, therefore, to heed Jesus’ words and keep awake, watchful and alert for his coming and to be prepared beforehand.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
Though there are other excellent Scriptures that vividly come to life when I consider this dream, particularly the ‘day of the LORD’ passages in the minor prophets, Joel 2:11-17 is most heavily on my heart.
After seeing the magnitude and severity of the coming destruction and judgment, I now feel a great weight and magnitude for the need for me and other Christians and people to repent. The call to repentance in this Joel passage is so heavy and ‘severe’ that, I feel, it is a specific call to repentance that is needed in view of the immensity of the impending destruction, the peril of the times and the immensity of the sin of God’s people (myself included) that is exposed when that day brings it to light.
“The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?
‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’
‘Rend you heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing–grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:11-17)