Tribulation Part 1

Trying to understand the imagery of the Book of Revelation.

Linn Winters
Jan 20, 2019    50m
In this sermon Pastor Linn Winters begins an examination of the tribulation from the Book of Revelation. He shares his and theologians theories as to what the imagery found in this script might actually be. He encouraged the congregation to make sure their loved ones are saved before these prophecies come to pass. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Linn Winters: 00:28 Hey Cornerstone, how you doing? Super glad to see you today. I think, I think you probably know that we're in a series that's called The End. And what we're really doing together is we're doing a survey of The Book of Revelation. And guys look, there's no way that you and I are going to cover every single, Revelation is twenty-two chapters, we're doing this in five weeks. But here's the goal, the goal is that you and I are going to come away with a clearer understanding. That there's going to be light bulbs that come on, a moment and we go, oh, oh, oh, I think I get it. And that you and I would have the ability to sit down over a cup of coffee with someone, and actually carry on a conversation that rightly reflects the events that are going to happen in the end time. But this isn't just an intellectual exercise. In other words, I'm hoping you take in a ton of information, learn a whole bunch of new things, but the reality is there's a spiritual component here. Scripture says this, that everyone who understands, everyone who gets this idea that Jesus could potentially return it any moment, purifies themselves, lives their life differently because of this knowledge, because of this understanding. And I'm just going to tell you that when what we're having the conversation about begins to kind of sink into your life, important things are going to rise to the top. You're going to go, oh, that needs to have a greater priority in my life than ever before, because of what I understand now about the potential of the imminent return of Christ. And things that are less important are suddenly going to drift to the bottom, and you're going to go, wow, I don't think I care about that so much anymore. It just doesn't mean as much, knowing that time could be limited. Okay, so I'm hoping this is just has a deep and profound impact in your lives.

Linn Winters: 02:13 Now, here's the other thing I've got to say. And that is it's going to be a little different if you're here, and if you're a guest right now, these next few sessions, they're just different. We're going to do a lot of what I would call teaching versus preaching, which is a little bit out of the norm for us because there's just so much content. So we're just going to unload, unload, unload, and we're going to give you content, content, content. We're going to learn a whole bunch together. And then we're going to land it at the end with, okay, if I get this, if I understand this, what's the spiritual impact in my life? How should my life be tweaked? How should I adjust in my life because I believe this stuff? Okay? Together.

Linn Winters: 02:52 Last little caveat, you get to the Book of Revelation is probably the hardest book of the Bible to understand, it just is. There's so much imagery in the Book of Revelation, there's lions and there's bears, oh my. No tigers, but lions and bears. And you understand that the reason that there's so much imagery, is that John is 2000 years ago, looking at things that he just has no idea what an airplane is and he's never seen a tank before. And he's sitting in a 2000 year old culture, trying to describe those things to someone who's never even seen a flashlight. So imagine this for a moment, imagine if God took you back 2000 years and said, describe to these people the Internet. I mean just think, how would you describe to somebody in Biblical Times, the Internet? I mean, what would you say? Well, in the future we all have boxes, and in the boxes they're brains, and our brain can talk to other brains. So you ask your brain a question, and if your brain doesn't know, he asks other brains. And they tell him the answer, and then your brain tells you the answer. How would you describe the Internet to someone 2000 years ago? Now, make it harder. John has never seen the Internet, he doesn't know. John is one of those people living 2000 years ago, seeing these things, and trying to understand. I mean, how, what would you say? Wow, these people get in front of boxes, and they wave their fingers, and answers come out. How would you do that? Right? Which leaves us trying to look into the words of John and say, I wonder what he was seeing. What's my best understanding? What's my best guess of what John is seeing, and attempting to describe? Which means this, you Ready? We probably are going to get it mostly right, but we aren't going to get it all right. I can just tell you right now, somewhere we're going to be in heaven, and you're going to go, Linn, you're so dumb. That was obvious. How'd you...Right? We're going to get it mostly right, we're not going to get it 100 percent right.

Linn Winters: 05:13 But here's what I can say to you with absolute confidence. You ready? That when these events begin to unfold, when people are living through these end time events that the Book of Revelation describes. They're going to see that moment, and they're going to go, oh my goodness, that's exactly what John said in Revelation chapter eight, verse eight. That's exactly what he was describing, and it will be crystal clear. And are you ready for this? And it will be 100 percent without mistake. It will literally, every detail of it will come to life, and be accurate and be real. Okay?

Linn Winters: 05:51 So here's what we're going to do, we're just going to dive in today, and we're going to see how far we get. Let me catch up some of us that may not have been here last week. This is just kind of what we covered together. That through most of history, God's primary agent through which he worked through the world, was Israel. Matter of fact, if you go back and read the Old Testament, almost the entirety of the Old Testament is dealing with Israel. They are God's primary agent to affect the world. Here was the hope, that people would see Israel obeying God, they would see God blessing Israel. And that people would say themselves, Huh? It looks like that Jehovah God, is better than our gods, maybe we should go explore him and figure him out. And Israel was intended to be God's primary agent to cause the rest of the world to become curious about, God and ultimately to discover God. If you know the story, you know that Israel did this reasonably well for awhile, but then gets way off track. And God says to them, okay, look, we're going to take a pause. You're not going to be my primary agent for awhile, and then eventually I'm going to come back to you, I'm going to give you one last lap to get this right.

Linn Winters: 07:21 That pause comes with the cross. As Jesus dies on the cross, something absolutely new comes to earth, it's a thing call the church. Matter of fact, theologians will say, you and I are living in the church age. Which means you and I, you and I are now God's primary agent in the world, for people to figure out who god is. See, you and I are supposed to live such powerful Christian lives. We're supposed to obey God even when it's hard. We're supposed to have families that are different than the families of people who don't know Jesus. We're supposed to raise kids that are different than the kids of people who don't understand our God. So that our world would look at us and say, how come, how come in the hardest of times you're still floating? How's that possible? And that they would become curious about our God, and that they would eventually discover our Jesus. You and I, today as the church, are the primary agent of God in this world. It's our assignment. But remember God said, Israel, I'm going to give you a second chance. There's going to be a gap, the church, and then we're going to come back and deal with you again. Matter of fact, he promised them that they would have a week of years, seven years, in which to reconsider and finally figure out the Messiah.

Linn Winters: 08:58 You and I call that week of years, The Tribulation. And what you need to know is the tribulation is about Israel, it's not about the church, Israel will once again become God's primary agent to the world. Now, in order for that to happen, the church needs to be gone. And so, what we know from prophecy is that the next big event, the next thing that's going to happen, is the taking of the church out of this world, it's an event we call The Rapture. It's interesting because as the Bible describes this event, it talks about Jesus coming to the clouds. Now, here's what you need to know, the rapture is not the second coming. In the first coming, Jesus physically came to the earth. In the second coming, Jesus will physically come to earth. In the rapture, the Bible describes Jesus as coming to the clouds, and then Christians being caught up out of this world to meet him in the clouds, he never comes physically to Earth. The rapture is something different. It's the catching away of the church, so that God can once again deal with Israel.

Linn Winters: 10:18 Now, here's what you need to know. The tribulation, for lack of a better term, is a spanking. The tribulation is a moment in which God says, look, look, look, look, you have runaway from me so long, you have harden your hearts so hard, I'm going to do whatever's necessary to get your attention. I'm going to stand in your way. Because here's the deal, the end is imminent, the end is imminent. The end is coming, and I love you, I love you, I love you too much, to let you miss who my son is. And so I'm going to stand in your way, even if standing in your way is painful, because I love you too much to have you miss Heaven. Okay? And it's a period of time that's literally, it's just a spiritual spanking for the world. It's God's last ditch effort to cause people to finally turn toward him.

Linn Winters: 11:17 Okay, so here we go, we're going to dive in to the tribulation period. Here's the thing that you just need to hear me say out loud, in case you get up and go to the bathroom and decided not to come back. It's scary. You don't want anybody that you love, to go through what we're about to describe. You don't want anybody to miss Jesus, miss the rapture, and have to live through the tribulation.

Linn Winters: 11:45 Okay, here we go. So the first big events that unfold during the tribulation, it's a Revelation, chapter six, are the four horsemen. It's interesting because even popular culture talks about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Almost every doomsday movie, somewhere mentions this phraseology. The interesting thing is they borrowed this right off the pages of Revelation. So here are the four horsemen.

Linn Winters: 12:15 The first horseman is white, and scripture is very clear to tell us that horseman represents Antichrist. Antichrist is going to become a world leader. He eventually is going to be voted in as prime minister of the earth, he's then going to leverage that moment to become dictator of the earth. But what you need to know is that in these early moments of the tribulation, nobody's probably going to know who he is yet, he's simply going to be a leader amongst leaders. He's going to be someone who mixes in the crowd, and he hasn't risen to prominence or power yet. Here are my best guesses about antichrist. I believe he's going to be brilliant. Part of why I believe this is because his rise to power is so meteoric, that he has to stand head and shoulders against every one of his peers, so I believe he's going to be brilliant with the economy. In the early days of the tribulation, the economy is going to be in the dumps. And I believe that antichrist is going to come and say, hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, if we did this, it would stabilize. If we did this, we would actually begin to see an improvement in the stock market. And he, I believe, is going to be brilliant economically. Secondly, I think he's going to be brilliant politically, that he's going to be able to sit down with people who have hated each other for thousands of years, and suddenly bring truces and treaties. He's going to be able to say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, if you would simply concede that, if you would participate. And all of the sudden he's going to appear to be a brilliant peace maker amidst the chaos of all that's going on during the tribulation.

Linn Winters: 13:53 Here's something else I'm guessing. My best guess is that antichrist is probably Jewish, if not completely Jewish, that he's partially Jewish. Here's why I say that, and again, it's just a guess. For the first three and a half years of the tribulation, the Jewish nation Israel is going to absolutely believe that he is Messiah, and I cannot imagine them doing that unless he has some sort of Jewish heritage. They're going to believe that he literally is not Jesus, that he is the fulfillment of all the old testament prophecies. And they are going to follow him without question, until about the midpoint of the tribulation. At that point, he's going to do something, they're all going to recognize him. But for the first three and a half years, they're convinced that that guy is the messiah, which probably means he has Jewish heritage in him. And here's what's interesting. Remember I told you I think he's probably going to be economically brilliant. I think he's going to be politically able accomplish what others can't accomplish. Isn't it interesting that when Jesus came to the earth and Israel rejected him, they rejected him because he was not an economic savior, and he was not a political savior, and they weren't interested in a spiritual savior. And this guy will be everything that Jesus wasn't to them, and they will follow him hook, line, and sinker.

Linn Winters: 15:14 The second horse, the second horse in the tribulation is red, and he stands for war. Now, this should not be surprising to us, because as millions of people disappear from the earth, as there starts to be economic hemorrhaging. In the absence of leadership, those who have [inaudible] said, you know what? We've always hated those people, we've always wanted that piece of land, we've always wanted that economic advantage. Are suddenly in that moment of weakness and lack of leadership, are going to move to get everything that they can possibly get. Some of you would remember that when we strategically pulled out of Iraq, as our military forces began to leave. Every one of the warlords rose to the moment and said, here's my moment to get what I've always wanted, and they attacked each other. There broke out massive civil war all over Iraq, with malevolent people just saying, I'm going to take advantage of the moment. This is worldwide civil war. It's everybody who's ever wanted to take something from someone else, trying to take it. If World War Three hasn't happened yet, it does here.

Linn Winters: 16:25 Horseman number three, horseman number three is black, and he stands for famine. Scripture tells us this, that during this period of time, basic goods, basic groceries, will cost 12 times the normal amount. So think of this, the average price of milk right now is about $3.50 a gallon. In this period of time, that same gallon of milk would cost you $42.00 a gallon, apples would be $10.00, oranges would be $8.00. I mean the prices of just what it takes us to sustain, just goes sky rocketing through the roof. And if basic groceries cost that, then guess what the guy who owns the gas station is doing with his prices, because he's got to feed his family, and so all of a sudden now gas prices. And everything that you and I touch has to be moved, at some point, on a truck. So guess what happens to the prices of everything else in the world. And you realize this moment, is a moment that will absolutely bring economic collapse for the world.

Linn Winters: 17:36 Fourth Horseman, fourth horseman is pale green, and represents a plague. And scripture tells us, that as a result of this plague, that a quarter of all the people living on the earth in this period time will die. It's a worldwide epidemic. And just even consider that, for what would it be like in a short period of time? I mean in the matter of maybe just a couple of months, for a quarter of the Earth's population to all die of a massive epidemic, how would the graveyards even hold that. And my best guess is you're talking about digging massive ditches, you're trying to get bodies into graves as quickly as you can before disease spreads.

Linn Winters: 18:19 And all the sudden you get just a little bit of a sense of the chaos that, you ready for this, is the opening chapter of the tribulation, this is only the beginning. And it's in the midst of all this chaos, all this unrest, that paves the way for antichrist to step forward, and look like the guy who has answers and has solutions, and it paves his rise to power.

Linn Winters: 18:47 Now, we've talked about the idea this the seven year period, this tribulational period, is a spanking. And now all of a sudden we dip our toes in, and go, oh wow. And there's a part of us that says, hey, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute, why would a loving God, why would a good God, do that to the earth? And we've said, this is a spiritual spanking. This is a moment in which God is saying, look, look, look, the end is right here, and I'm going to do anything, I'm going to do anything to get your attention. I'm going to do anything I have to do to soften your hearts. Because the window of opportunity is quickly closing, and I love you too much to let you miss Jesus. So even if I have to be painful in your life, I'm going to intrude into your life.

Linn Winters: 19:46 Let me see if this helps. Some of you would know that my granddaughter Catalina lives with Lisa and I, and it's just been fun, because I get to be papa on the deal. And papa's really easy, because I can give her all the bad habits, and then her parents have to straighten it out, right? So I get to play monster with her, I get to tuck her in bed, and do her prayers. I mean, I get to be pretty cool, I'm papa. Right up until, Lisa and I'd been out of town for a couple of days. We came home, and while we'd been out of town, Catalina had discovered my permanent markers. Now what you may not know is, that for every sermon I do, I do post it notes all over my kitchen. And I'm writing all my ideas and notes, in each pen has a different color, and it means something else. And Catalina discovered my permanent marker, she apparently decided that the decor of our home was not up to snuff, and she decided to remodel. So she begins on this wall of the kitchen, and just starts drawing picture after picture after picture after picture after picture. She gets to the light switch plate, she just goes right on top of all that, she just keeps going through. She gets to our french doors, just drawing all over it, and then keeps going. Papa came home, and I'm just going to tell you, that as I began to share with Catalina my thoughts on her decorating choices, there was a look of shock and awe in her eyes. You could tell she was, where is nice papa on right now, and who are you? Right? And guys, we had the opportunity together to talk about life lessons, one of the life lessons being that when you make a poor decision, then it's your responsibility to clean it up. And Catalina discovered that with enough Comet, and enough elbow grease, eventually you can get permanent marker off a wall.

Linn Winters: 22:03 But it also led into a discussion that said, hey, Catalina, this is bigger than markers. Because here's what it means to be a woman. It's not that you never make a mistake, but real women, especially women of God, clean up their mistakes. Okay? But even though were in a moment of discipline, guys, get this, my love for Catalina was unchanged. I loved her even after I saw the markers, as much as I loved her before the markers. And as I disciplined her, ready for this, I might have actually loved her more. Because in that moment what I was saying is, hey, young lady, I'm going to lean into you. I'm going to even risk that you don't understand me right now, because I love you too much, not to let you learn this. Because if you keep going the way you're going, if you spend the rest of your life making unthoughtful, you're going to end up in a lot of pain. So I'm willing to cause a little bit of pain in the present, to change your future.

Linn Winters: 23:05 This is exactly the tribulation. You need to understand that this spiritual spanking is actually the loving hand of God. Every parent knows this, that perhaps their greatest moment of parenting, and maybe the most loving moment of their parenting is when they take the time to discipline their children. The tribulation is God doing everything he can, to make sure that people don't go into eternity without him, it's a spiritual spanking. Okay, so here's a really, really cool thing, though, that happens in the midst of this. God sends to the Earth, 144,000 witnesses, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Why 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel? Because remember, remember, remember the tribulation period is a focus on Israel, not on the church, because the church isn't here. So 12,000 witnesses from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, 144,000. Think about this, a 144,000 little Billy Graham's going all over the earth just talking about Jesus, and saying, guys, guys, guys, do you see what's happening? Look, look, look what scripture says. And here's the interesting thing, during this period of time, millions of people come to Christ, there is a worldwide revival during the early days of the tribulation. Now this isn't going to last, there's going to come a moment when the world's attitude towards the church turns, and people will give their lives to follow Jesus. But in the early days of the tribulation, literally millions. It's a revival in the world during this period of time.

Linn Winters: 24:55 In the late Seventies, early Eighties, it was kind of the hippie era, the whole free love era. So people were growing their hair out really long, and refusing to take baths, and eating lots of granola. And the idea was, hey, we're all going to go live in communes together, and nobody has to have a job. And it's going to be a free love you know, no one's going to like own anybody else, and so you know you can have sex with whoever you want to have sex with because you know, no boundaries. And we're all going to do drugs together, and peace out, that was the Seventies, at the end of the seventies, early eighties, that whole idea came imploding on itself. All of a sudden they woke up and they went, dude, you're using my drugs. Hey, wait a minute, I think I like that girl, I'm not sure I want to share her with you. And that whole culture, that whole idea, just imploded on itself. And in the vacuum, as that world idea and concept literally disintegrated, it created a spiritual vacuum. And literally millions of people came to Jesus during that era, it's called the Jesus movement.

Linn Winters: 26:08 This is exactly what happens at the beginning of the tribulation. As all of a sudden the economy implodes, as all of a sudden people are saying, man, I thought my thing was going to be my job, and I don't even have a job. I thought it was going to be the size of my portfolio, I don't even have a portfolio. Right? So everything that they thought is imploding in that moment, and it creates this massive spiritual vacuum, and literally millions of people in the early days of the tribulation call on the name of Jesus and become Christ followers. It's going to last for a short period of time, but it is a revival.

Linn Winters: 26:40 Alright, let's jump in, and let's start talking, because remember we said things actually get worse. So grab your bibles and go with me to the Book of Revelation, back of your bible. Probably the easiest book of the bible you're ever going to find, because it's the last book of the bible, Revelation chapter eight. And what we're going to do, is we're going to go through a series of judgments, called the trumpet judgments. Okay? And we're just going to kind of walk through them, and you'll get a sense that as things move, it's almost as if each judgment becomes harsher than the last. As if God is upping the stakes and saying, will you please, will you please pay attention to me?

Linn Winters: 27:18 Here we go. Revelation chapter eight, the trumpet judgments. We'll start in verse seven, here we go, "The first angel sounded his trumpet." Remember, trumpet judgements. "The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down to the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the grass was burned up." Okay? So is it possible that what John is describing here, and remember we're trying to see this through his eyes, but is it possible that he's talking about a meteorite shower? I mean you've got lots of these little meteorites coming down through the earth's atmosphere, of course they are becoming molten hot. Now they're hitting the earth, and now there's the ensuing fires that come out of it, right? And it says a third of all the trees, all the vegetation and all of the grass burns up. Now guys, think about this a moment, a third of the apple trees, a third of the banana, and a third of the...Right? And all the grain, what do cows eat? Grass. So imagine this happening on top of the worldwide famine that's already in place, and suddenly you get this sense of how the world is spiraling down. Think about this, anytime you burn off vegetation, now that there aren't those healthy roots holding the soil together, and add rain, and you end up with massive mudslides, just ask California.

Linn Winters: 28:52 Back to the passage, verse eight, "The Second Angel sounded his trumpet and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed." So remember we said, hey, maybe this is a meteorite shower, isn't it possible now a huge asteroid is now coming, and hits the ocean. And guys, look, we don't know, right? We don't know. We're seeing this through the eyes of John. But what else would you describe as huge mountain now coming, and landing into the ocean, the sea. It says, the result of this is, a third of all the sea life is killed. Remember, we're having a famine, and now a third of all the sea life is killed. It's as the ensuing potential tidal wave, right, now destroys a third of the shipping, that makes sense. And then it comes back and something that's interesting is it says, that the ocean, a third of the ocean turns to blood. So here's the question, is it literal blood? I don't know. I mean it could be right? Because Moses, when he's dealing with Pharaoh, turns the Nile River into blood. God certainly has that power, and could do that, and could turn it to blood. It's also possible potentially, if this is a huge asteroid, as it goes down and hits the seabed. That all the sudden all that silt coming up from the bottom, and now getting stirred up into the ocean, potentially has the appearance of being red. And so John describes it as, it was like blood. We don't know. Here's what I'm going to tell you. Ready for this? When this happens, people are going to look at it, and they're going to see a third of the ship's gone. They're going to see whatever this red thing is, this appearance, and they're going to go, oh my goodness. That's exactly what John was talking about.

Linn Winters: 30:51 Back to the passage, verse 10, "The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter." Is it possible? Is it possible that this star thing that comes down like a torch, that John is describing, a nuclear event? That what he's focused on is the plume, right the fire coming out of the tail end of a nuclear device, and says it's like a torch heading toward the earth. It would explain the fact that a third of all the waters become undrinkable, right, with the radioactive fallout and everything that would come as a part of that. Is it possible that John is describing to us, a nuclear war?

Linn Winters: 31:50 Back to the passage, verse 12, "The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night." So stop and think about it, if wormwood really was a nuclear event, right? Now, all the debris, all the dust that would be kicked up into the atmosphere of that large of an event, we'll of course the sun would look dark. And of course you'd say, man, it is hard to see the stars, as a result.

Linn Winters: 32:27 Verse 13, "I watched, and I heard an angel that was flying in midair call in a loud voice: Woe! Woe! Woe." Now here's what you need to know. Anytime scripture repeats itself, anytime it goes, woe, says something three times, it's big. And right now it says, woe, woe, what's coming is really, really bad. "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels. The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them." Alright, how many have you been stung by a scorpion? Okay, so you've lived in Arizona longer than six months. Okay, so here's the deal, when I was stung by a scorpion, I had no desire for death. I had desire for the death of the scorpion, but not personal death. So you get what he's describing here, is he's saying, hey, this is like that burning pain that you get, but it's on steroids. I mean this is so intense, this is so vibrant over your entire body, that these people literally long for death for five months and death eludes them.

Linn Winters: 34:28 And then it goes on, verse seven, "The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come." Now, theologians for years have tried to say, okay, so what are these beasts from the abyss? And one of the ideas that been surfaced is, is it possible that these are helicopters? And here's what they would say. So when you look at a helicopter face on, you would get where John might say, hey, you know what? It sort of looked kind of human like. And then you know, think about the propellers, the blades of a helicopter. And John says, hey, its wings were so thunderous, that it sounded like many chariots, like battle horses running into battle. And then it says, hey, it had a tail, sort of like a scorpion. And you can think of a helicopter shape, and this flat breast plate on the bottom. And then it talks about having the teeth of the lion. And isn't it interesting that on a lot of our military aircraft, how we paint the mouths. And so theologians said, well you know, we think maybe these are helicopters.

Linn Winters: 36:10 I don't think so, and let me tell you why I don't. The Bible says that these creatures, whatever they are, are given the power to torment people for five months. But the people they torment, are only those who do not have the mark of God on their foreheads. In other words, the only people they torment are non-Christians. If there was a military move, antichrist would be in charge of it. There's just no reasonable reason in which antichrist would avoid harming the Christians, and would harm his own people, it just doesn't make sense to me. What I believe you're seeing in this moment is literally the first supernatural, the first moment in which you cannot say, oh, this is just a normal event. This is something that is so supernatural, these beasts are so unexplainable, that you have to say, oh my goodness, that has to be God. That has to be a supernatural. Think about this, everything that's happened up until now, there has been wars, there's been famine, there's been plague, there's been nuclear, right? Everything that's happened till now you could explain. You go, well, you know guys, this is just global warming, see we told you. Or hey, this is just, you know, we've had war. Everything up until now you could explain in human terms, I believe this is the first moment, the first judgment, that you have to look at it and go that is just absolutely supernatural, there is no earthly explanation for that. And here's the interesting thing. Despite the fact that they're going to know that something bigger than them is happening, they will refuse, they will refuse, they will refuse to turn their hearts for God.

Linn Winters: 38:04 And you and I are left in the moment, and we go, how is that possible? I mean, when God gets that obvious, I mean when you just go look, there is no explanation except that God is. How could you refuse that? We really shouldn't be that surprised, right? Because you and I've seen people do this over and over again. Truth be told, truth be told, you and I have done this on occasion. It's that moment you lose a job, it's the moment that your child gets sick and now hospital bills are going through the ceiling. It's when a loved one or a dear friend dies way, way too young. And in that moment, here's what we say. We say, no, no, no, no, you cannot tell me that's God. You can't. There's no way a loving God, there's no way a good God would do this. Why would a good God have me lose my job? Why would a good and loving God ever allow my child to get sick and me to have hospital bills? No, no, there's no way God's behind that. Or if you can convince me that's God, that God allowed me, that God did, I don't want that God. I don't want any God who could be that mean in that hard, no. And so you and I should not be surprised, that even in the face of something that is absolutely supernatural, they will harden their hearts and refuse to turn.

Linn Winters: 39:29 Back to the passage, verse 13, "The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number."

Linn Winters: 40:06 So stop and think about this. The Euphrates is to the east of Israel. So this army that's coming is coming from the east. And he tells us the number. He says it's 2 X 10,000 X 10,000 which is 200 million. Who would be able to field a 200 million man army? I mean think about this for a second. If you take the entire population of the United States, men, women, boys, children, old people, the entire population throwing in a couple of cats and dogs. The entire population of the United States is roughly about 300 million. Who could field a 200 million man army from the east? And I think scripture gives us some hints to go back.

Linn Winters: 40:59 Verse 17, "The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury. The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."

Linn Winters: 41:56 So stop and think about it. It says there's an army that moves from the east. That their horses look like they have the faces of lions, and out of their mouths come fire. What country? What country has a mascot that looks like that? Their bodies are long like serpents, reminds you of a dragon. China. And China's current population is 1.3 billion. They easily could muster a 200 million man army. And are you ready for this? And the colors associated with China have long been red, dark blue, and yellow. How amazing is it to you that John, with that level of clarity, could describe events thousands of years away from him?

Linn Winters: 43:01 Here's the deal. We're halfway through, we're at the midpoint. And are you ready for this? We've done the easy part of the tribulation. Remember I said to you, you don't want anybody you love, going through this. Here's a question. We said that tons and tons of people become Christians. We said that only lasts [inaudible]. What happens to Christians during the tribulation? What does it mean to be a Christ follower during the tribulation?

Linn Winters: 43:28 So grab your bibles one last time and go with me to revelation chapter seven, because it gives you and me a little bit of a peek behind the curtain. Revelation chapter seven, here's what it says. Revelation seven, verse nine, "After this I (John, who's writing the Book of Revelation.) I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count." Now think about this for a second. Scripture just told us about a 200 million man army, and yet John, when he sees this multitude of people says, you couldn't come up with a number. So we're left to believe that it is significantly greater, right? Millions upon millions of people. "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." So this multitude is now before the throne of Jesus in heaven. There are no longer on the earth. "And they cried out in a loud voice. Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." Now skip down to verse 13. "Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb"

Linn Winters: 44:54 These literally are millions and millions of Christians, who have been killed for their faith in the tribulation. There's going to come a season during the tribulation where suddenly the ire and the angst, the hatred of the world. Is going to turn against Christians. And I don't know what that moment...I don't know if it's because with all the chaos and all the turmoil. And here are Christians that are going, hey guys, guys, this is what the Bible says. And they're going to going, would you just stop it, you bunch of Christian weirdos? And the truth is we're trying to come up with solutions, and you're just distracting, and stop it. Is it going to be some sort of a hatred in which they blame monger Christians for some of what's going on? In the same way that World War II Germany blamed the Jewish people, and began to slaughter them, blaming them for their problems. We don't know. All we know is that the tide turns, and suddenly it costs you everything during the tribulation to be a follower of Christ. Which brings us back to the moment again. You don't want anybody you love, to go through this,

Linn Winters: 46:03 So let's land this thing spiritually. What should you and I take away today? Two things, I think.

Linn Winters: 46:12 Number one, you and I as Christians have not even begun to suffer. I mean, when you read this, man, we start to tell somebody about Jesus, and they kind of laugh behind our backs. And we go, oh man, I just suffer for Jesus. We're afraid to put a bumper sticker on our car, because we don't want our neighbors to think we're one of them. We invite somebody to church, and they say, no, we're not going, and it hurts our feelings. And guys, you and I have not even begun to pay a price for our faith in Jesus. Matter of fact, with the freedom and the liberty that you and I have right now living on this side of the return of Jesus. I'm just going to suggest to you, it's a time for you and I to be bold. For you and I to say, Hey, you know what? I'm just going to let you know where I stand in my faith, and if you laugh, so be it. If you don't understand, I'm okay. If you decide to stop being my friend, I'm okay. But I love you too much, and I love my Lord too much, to be silent. I'm going to go loud with my faith. Because truthfully it doesn't cost me much.

Linn Winters: 47:44 Second thing. We said it several times. You don't want anybody you love to face this. And because you and I don't know, right? We have no idea, the return of Jesus could be tonight. The return of Jesus could be 2000 years away. We don't know. We don't know. The thing we do know is, you and I are closer than any generation has ever been. And if you and I truly believed that Jesus could come back, wouldn't we tell, wouldn't we share it with everybody that we love. When we say, look, I love you too much to let you go, and so I'm just going to keep talking about my Jesus. I'm going to go to every one of our family gatherings, and I know, I know, I know, but I'm going to bring my Jesus up. Because how wonderful would it be, to be in heaven, if the rapture did happen? And now your family, and your best friends, are standing next to you peering over the railing of heaven, and watching the tribulation. And they turn to you, and they say to you, thank you. Thank you for being the crazy uncle. Thank you for being the neighbor who kept inviting me and inviting me, inviting me to church. And I finally went, and I figured this Jesus out, and thank you for rescuing me. What if we love people too much, to let them ever see that?

Linn Winters: 49:10 Let's pray. Hey, dear Lord Jesus. We come to a moment that we're just going to be honest, it's a little bit sobering. Because if we were to tell the truth, we don't wake up every morning and think, hey Jesus could come back today, we live most of our days completely oblivious to your return. And God, I'm just going to ask that maybe you would burn that in our hearts a little bit, that we'd be more conscious, and more aware. That God, in light of your return, big things would become big, important things would become really important. Living a life that honors you would be our first priority, and suddenly little things would get really little. That raise, that job promotion, wouldn't be near as big. God, help us to be changed by your eminent return. And this we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286