The great and terrible day of the Lord is near!
In my collection of shirts, I have a casual shirt with the word “Redeemed” printed across the front. Nothing else appears – no other words, no symbols, no pictures. Just the word “Redeemed”. One day, whilst shopping at a local grocery store, another man saw my shirt, smiled and said, “Me too!”. A true brother or sister in the faith knows exactly what that word represents, and it is always great to meet others who are excited to share their redemption story. Of course, to be redeemed we must have a Redeemer! Though sometimes overlooked, we actually learn of this Redeemer early on in the Book of Genesis – chapter 3, verse 15 reads: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. As we see from that passage, God intended the Redeemer to be at the heart of His strategy in the defeat of Satan.
But Satan also has a strategy. The heart of his strategy is to blind mankind to the fact that God’s judgement will soon fall upon this world. This denial has a purpose – Satan is using it to prepare the world for his coming attempt to establish the visible, political form of his evil kingdom on earth led by an emissary we refer to as the Antichrist. Given what we know about the coming Millennial Kingdom (with Christ ruling and reigning from Jerusalem in truth and righteousness) Satan will also enact a counterfeit plan to establish a theocracy built upon lies and spiritual darkness. In fact, consider these similarities (emphasis added throughout):
1. Both Jesus Christ and the Antichrist have a coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:1: Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you. 2 Thessalonians 2:9: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.
2. Both Jesus Christ and the Antichrist are revealed. 2 Thessalonians 1:7: and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. 2 Thessalonians 2:3: Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.
3. Both Jesus Christ and the Antichrist bring a message which underscores their mission. 2 Thessalonians 2:10b: because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:10a: and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish.
4. Jesus Christ was sent by His Father. John 6:38: For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. The Antichrist will be sent by his father (the father of lies). The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.
Throughout the Tribulation Period (or Daniel’s 70th week as we often refer to it) Satan will use various strategies in an attempt to establish himself as the permanent ruler of heaven and earth. These strategies evolve in four stages, each more serious and intense than the last. First and foremost, he will seek the permanent establishment of a visible, political form of his kingdom by raising up an unholy trinity – Satan, Antichrist and False Prophet. This kingdom will not be one of love and light, but of evil and darkness. Secondly, as any “king” would do, he will insist that only those who swear allegiance to this kingdom be permitted to live within it. Therefore, he will seek the destruction of all testimony which gives glory to God, the true King of the Universe. Of course, the best way to destroy a testimony for God is to kill those who have a personal testimony of God (see Revelation 13:7, 15; 17:6).
Satan’s third strategy in the Tribulation Period is to destroy Israel once and for all. He has attempted to do this throughout history but in the Tribulation Period, realising his time is short, he will attack the nation of Israel with extreme intensity (see Revelation 12). Finally, the last and most desperate strategy of Satan is to gather all the armies of the world to make war against the Lord with the express goal of stopping Him returning to institute the Millennial Kingdom. Revelation 19:19 testifies of this time: And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
Satan’s evil plans will fail – that much is certain from Scripture. In fact, even though Satan will appear to have success in establishing a permanent kingdom throughout the Tribulation Period, God reminds him that his efforts are futile by declaring this in Revelation 11:15: Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Only one kingdom will be left standing after the Tribulation Period – and it isn’t the one led by Satan!
Outside of the remnant church, there are not many people who are taking seriously the warning of God’s judgement which will soon burst forth upon the earth. Sadly, though the church as a whole should bear witness to this truth, many are blind to the prophecies which speak of this future time. The world will reel in collective shock at how terrible this time will be, notwithstanding the efforts of many wonderful remnant believers worldwide who are doing all they can to sound the alarm prior to the rapture.
How terrible will it be? Zephaniah 1:15 provides an insight: 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. There was an old medieval Latin hymn based on this passage. The first two verses read:-
Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophet’s warning,
Heav’n and earth in ashes burning!
O what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
When from Heav’n the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.
To deal with mankind’s sin a redeemer was required, and, to the glory of God, a Redeemer has been sent. But if you are not willing to accept the truth of Jesus Christ, you will soon come face to face with the lies of the Antichrist. These lies will not only lead to a life of difficulty on this earth, but they will lead to an eternity of punishment if you remain outside of a saving faith in Jesus Christ. John 3:17-18: For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.