At the end of 3½ years, when the “abomination of desolation,” described by Daniel 9:27, occurs, and Temple sacrifices are discontinued, it will have become clear to those who first thought that “peace and safety” had come upon Israel, that instead, the great tribulation was upon them. Then the words of the Messiah will ring true. Read on.
Matthew 24:15-22 (NKJ)
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
18 “And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
19 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
20 “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
The prophet Zechariah made the same point as he described the events leading up to the restoration of the Kingdom.
Zechariah 2:6-8 (NKJ)
6 “Up, up! Flee from the land of the north,” says the LORD; “for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,” says the LORD.
7 “Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.”
8 For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.
Jeremiah foresaw the same event and cited the enemy as coming out of the north.
Jeremiah 6:1 (NKJ)
1 “O you children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a signal-fire in Beth Haccerem; for disaster appears out of the north, and great destruction.
This exodus will be triggered by severe persecution and survival will come either by compromise or by fleeing. Families will be split up and what we witness almost daily, somewhere in the world, will become a reality of a different kind.
17 Gather up your wares from the land, O inhabitant of the fortress!
18 For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will throw out at this time the inhabitants of the land, and will distress them, that they may find it so.”
19 Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is severe. But I say, “Truly this is an infirmity, and I must bear it.”
20 My tent is plundered, and all my cords are broken; my children have gone from me, and they are no more. There is no one to pitch my tent anymore, or set up my curtains.
21 For the shepherds have become dull-hearted, and have not sought the LORD; therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
22 Behold, the noise of the report has come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals.
23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
24 O LORD, correct me, but with justice; not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing.
25 Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You, and on the families who do not call on Your name; for they have eaten up Jacob, devoured him and consumed him, and made his dwelling place desolate.
The tribulation associated with the last 3½ years of the upcoming 7-year period will be a period of suffering as none other. We have seen what it is to be a refugee and a captive. We have seen the evil that man can administer to man. For you to hide successfully and survive will be another miracle that only God is able to provide. Just as God provided for His people in the wilderness, He will again provide, as only He could.
The following statement by Jacob clarifies what we “need” to survive and to effectively serve God.
Genesis 28:20-21 (NKJ)
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on,
21 “so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.
Paul taught Timothy the same concept regarding what one really needs. Listen.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJ)
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
If you attempt to flee, rather than to accept the mark of the beast, do you realize what you will “need?” Jacob and Paul just told you. You will need food and clothing. You will pray for shelter but the scriptures do not include shelter as a “need.” God may provide somewhat more abundantly than you require in order to survive, but your personal resources will be of no value to you, other than the clothing and small amount of food that you can take with you when you flee the enemy.
I believe Jesus taught us a much broader understanding of basic needs than I have introduced here but notice how perfectly His teaching fits the moment if you are “fleeing the enemy.”
Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJ)
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29 “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32 “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Now let’s look at how valuable your earthly assets will be to you as you flee the enemy and the circumstances of one who is busy escaping an enemy that wants to kill you. Listen.
Ezekiel 7:16-19 (NKJ)
16 ‘Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, each for his iniquity.
17 Every hand will be feeble, and every knee will be as weak as water.
18 They will also be girded with sackcloth; horror will cover them; shame will be on every face, baldness on all their heads.
19 ‘They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be like refuse; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD; they will not satisfy their souls, nor fill their stomachs, because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.
In the final analysis, each of us knows that our assets can not redeem our “life.” Here Solomon puts it in perspective. Only a repentant heart and the righteousness of Christ in you, will deliver you from death.
Proverbs 11:4 (NKJ)
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
In the following set of verses, Isaiah and Zephaniah depict how you and I will feel if we are present during the last half of the 7 years of great tribulation.
Isaiah 2:17-21 (NKJ)
17 The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
18 But the idols He shall utterly abolish.
19 They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily.
20 In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made, each for himself to worship, to the moles and bats,
21 To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crags of the rugged rocks, from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily.
Zephaniah 1:15-18 (NKJ)
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers.
17 “I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse.”
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land.
Having the courage to reject the mark on your right hand or on your forehead will, in many cases, lead to an immediate death sentence. Having that courage will set you apart for eternity, provided your courage stems from your faith. You will come to believe that your only hope lies in the mercy and grace of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Your resources will be as refuse and as “baggage to be discarded,” lest it weighs you down and you perish trying to preserve it.
I believe this following prophecy pertains to the living conditions of those “hiding out” during the great tribulation.
2 Kings 19:29-31 (NKJ)
29 ‘This shall be a sign to you: you shall eat this year such as grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from the same; also in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them.
30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
31 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.’
You can believe the prophecy above applies to the last 3½ years of the tribulation period, or not. If it does, you will not, without the mark of the beast, be able to buy and sell. I think it might. You would, if this is the case, be living off the land, at the mercy of the elements but God will provide just as He has before. Listen to Isaiah’s propehecy concerning the Messiah’s role as you flee. The capitalization of the “Y,” in the following verse, signifies Deity, the Messiah.
Isaiah 49:8-10 (NKJ)
8 Thus says the LORD: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’ “They shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.
10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; for He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them.
Notice that in II Kings, verse 30, it clearly says that only a remnant will escape. I will speculate that those who did not escape either died as martyrs or succumbed to the pressure of accepting the mark of the beast. The primary mission of this book is to tell you that the Messiah awaits now, to redeem you from the severe test before you, that you might be assured of His redemptive, regenerative power, now.
If you go through the tribulation, the “upward fruit” described in verse 30 will manifest itself in your offerings to God of your lives and livelihood. The fruit that you bear will be fruits of righteousness, fruits of the Holy Spirit, because the Messiah will provide.
I am going to estimate that salvation for the remnant will occur during this final 3½ year period and if not during the 3½ years, then certainly immediately after or concurrent with the battle of Armageddon. Why? Aside from the fact that Ezekiel’s prophecy says you shall “mourn for your iniquity” as you escape. No one will be in the Kingdom of God, on earth, that does not acknowledge the Lordship and Deity of the Messiah. Listen.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJ)
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There are three occasions in which these verses state “every knee shall bow…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” First, it will occur in New Jerusalem, heaven. Second, it will occur on the earth and third, under the earth. We have no problem understanding why this would be true in heaven. The second though, on earth, means every one on earth will confess. This could either be as millions are dying during the final battle (finally acknowledging God is in control) or more likely it will be in the Kingdom, where the Messiah reigns.
You may be thinking, “If during the Kingdom Age, every person will acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior, why, when Satan is unbound at the end of the 1000 years, will there be those who will choose to follow his evil ways? Didn’t they ‘acknowledge’ Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah?” Amazingly, there are people today who acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and who then go right on sinning, right on serving Satan. Acknowledging Him will not save you now nor will it save you then. Listen Israel to your prophets.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJ)
30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!”
As to those “under the earth,” clearly those who are “judged” will recognize the Judge and will bow before Him. This is a calamitous reality, the worst of circumstances. The One sent to redeem you, you now acknowledge and your sorrow at your sin will be forever with you. Say that to yourself, “your sorrow at your sin will be forever with you,” and then realize that Jesus Christ came and paid the price for your sin, atoned for all the evil you ever thought or ever committed, that you might stand before the Father, blameless. You will acknowledge the Savior. Why are you waiting?