Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MATTHEW 24:1-31


1.    At the Mount of Olives, our Lord’s disciples asked Him, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3b). 

2.    Our Lord answered them by giving various signs – religious deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places (24:4-7).

3.    But – “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (24:8).  In other words, things will get much worse.  Our Lord gives more signs, many of which could easily describe our situation today (24:11, 12).

4.    And then our Lord uses a term that we hear frequently when people are discussing Bible prophecy – the “great tribulation” (24:21, 29; cf. Rev. 7:13, 14).

5.    This period which the Bible refers to as the great tribulation is a time unlike any other (24:21, 22).

6.    The tribulation is the final chapter in world history leading up to the second coming of Christ (cf. Zech. 14:1-4; Rev. 19:11-16).

7.    This tribulation period will be preceded by the rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18).  The tribulation will be a specific period of time when God will pour out His wrath upon the Christ-rejecting inhabitants of this wicked world because of their sin and unbelief. 

8.    These worldly Christ-rejecters are referred to in the book of Revelation as “them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10; cf. 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 12:12; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6; 17:8).  

9.    These deluded sinners love this wicked world but they do not love God. They love their drinking and drugs and worldly television shows and dancing and rock music and Hollywood and shopping (etc.) but they have no time for God.

10. Before I go any further, I should point out that the word “tribulation” is used in different ways in the Bible.  Our Lord said in John 16:33, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

11. Acts 14:22 says, “that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

12. But this normal tribulation – trials and troubles – is not the same thing as “the Great Tribulation,” the coming time of judgment when God will pour out His wrath upon this wicked sin-loving, Christ-rejecting world.



1.     The tribulation is described very vividly here by our Lord in Matthew 24.   Our Lord gave various signs – religious deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places (24:4-7).

2.     Our Lord said the days preceding His second coming will be like the days of Noah (24:37-39).

3.     In Luke 17, our Lord said it will be like the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-37).   It is shocking how far this so-called “gay movement” has gone.  Our grandparents would not believe it.

4.     The book of Revelation describes the coming tribulation as a horrible time of judgment when God will pour out His wrath upon this world because they have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rev. 6:12-17).

5.     During the tribulation, the antichrist will emerge as the false messiah, and he will be worshipped by the whole world (Rev. 13:1-9; II Thess. 2:3-12).

6.     Today, sin-loving unbelievers are scoffing at the Bible, and indulging in all kinds of wickedness, but during the tribulation they will be tormented (Rev. 16:8-11).   But they will not repent.

7.     Those who refuse to take the mark of the beast will be killed (Rev. 13:11-18; 20:4).  Those who take it will be eternally damned (Rev. 14:9-11).

8.     This tribulation will be so severe that men shall seek death, and shall not find it (Rev. 9:6). 



1.    Some preachers teach a “partial rapture.”  But this is nothing but a variation of works salvation.  If you are saved from hell, then you are saved from the coming tribulation.

2.    There are some Christians that teach we will go through the tribulation (or part of it) but I cannot accept this doctrine either (cf. I Thess. 4:13-18). 

3.    Some Christians are not looking for Christ to appear – they are looking for the antichrist!   A man wrote a book about prophecy and in his book he taught that Christians should not expect the Lord to deliver them from the coming tribulation.  This man did not believe in the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).

4.    A preacher read the book and wrote a review for the Sword of the Lord.   He said that this writer would have Christians sing:

Sad day, sad day, Jesus can’t come today,

I’ll live for today and anxious be;

The beast and false prophet I soon shall see,

Sad day, sad day; Jesus can’t come today!

5.    How much better to sing:

Jesus may come today
Glad day, glad day!
And I would see my Friend;
Dangers and troubles would end
If Jesus would come today.

Glad day, glad day!
Is it the crowning day?
I’ll live for today, nor anxious be;
Jesus, my Lord I soon shall see.
Glad day, glad day!
Is it the crowning day?

6.    “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:9).

7.    We have to understand certain Bible principles: First of all, the tribulation is specifically the time of God’s wrath when He judges the world for rejecting Christ (Rev. 6:16, 17).

8.    While the entire world will be judged, the emphasis will be on Israel.  In fact, in Jeremiah 30:7, it is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (cf. Deut. 4:30, 31; Dan. 12:1).

9.    “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (I Thess. 5:9) means we will not go through this period of God’s wrath (cf. Rev. 3:10).

10. There is a theme that runs throughout the book of Revelation: those that “dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10) refers to the unsaved, and it is they and they alone that are being judged by God (cf. 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 12:9, 12; 13:3, 8, 12, 14; 14:6; 16:14; 17:2, 8).

11. Please remember that those without Christ are already have the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36).  



1.    Today, the worldly crowd is having a big time.  The money is rolling in, times are good, and they do not have a care in the world.

2.    But that could all change any day now (cf. Isa. 13:6-11; 14:26,27).

3.    We were taken by surprise on September 11, 2001.  These are perilous times indeed.  With fanatical Muslims determined to destroy us, it is hard to understand why so many people are living for the devil.

4.    I remember the day I heard a pastor preach a message like this.  He asked that every born-again Christian stand up.  A few people remained sitting.  He told them that they would be left behind when Christ returns.

5.    Right now, the Lord Jesus Christ is seated on the right hand of God the Father (cf. Heb. 1:1-3).  Soon He will get up out of His throne and He will open a book that is sealed with seven seals (Rev. 5:5; 6:1).  This will commence the tribulation period.  God will start pouring out His wrath upon this wicked world.

6.    As you study the book of Revelation, you see how the judgments will increase in intensity (cf. Rev. 15:7; 16:1-17), and these judgments will finally culminate at the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16).



1.     I went to Google and typed in “Armageddon, Middle East” and found there were over 2 million articles!

2.     I do not have the time to read two million articles, but I have time to read the Bible (Rev. 16:13-16).

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