We have seen how God in His grace has reached out to the nations of the world. His word tells us that God will make every effort to share His gospel with Gentile nations. Jesus said that the gospel would go out to every nation in the end times. He said:
· Matthew 24:14 - 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
· Matthew 28:18-20 - 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Notice how Jesus emphasizes the destination of the gospel as being, “to all nations.” He reaches out to all nations to make disciples. We see this in the book of Acts (Acts 15:14) and it will be true up until the culmination of prophetic history.
But what happens to those nations that reject the light of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ? That is what we will now consider.
In the End Times and during the Tribulation nations will encounter severe difficulties. Jesus said of the end times and during the Tribulation that nations would be perplexed, or have problems they couldn’t solve:
· Luke 21:25 - “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
Nations will experience great distress and confusion during the Tribulation. This is because those who remain on earth during the Tribulation had previously rejected the gospel and remained behind at the time of the Rapture. There will be very hard times for those left behind. Jesus said there would be lawlessness, lovelessness and wars:
· Matthew 24:7 - 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
· Matthew 24:12 - 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Nations that don’t turn to God will be ruled by Antichrist. Antichrist is going to be a political figure possessed by the devil himself (Rev. 12:9; 20:2; 13:2,4). He will be very deceptive and persuasive. He will be able to rule over the nations during the Tribulation. This is the testimony of God’s word which states of Antichrist:
· Revelation 13:7 - 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
This demonically inspired and empowered figure will literally lead the nations of the world on the road to hell!
It should be noted that the “saints” which the Antichrist is able to “overcome” are not those who make up the church. Jesus promised the gates of hell wouldn’t be able to prevail against his church (Mat. 16:18-19). The saints struggling with Antichrist are those saved during the Tribulation.
There will be many who turn to the LORD during the Tribulation. The account in Revelation speaks of multitudes who will be saved in the nations during the Tribulation:
· Revelation 7:9-10 - 9 After these things [i.e. the first six seals of trials on the earth during the Tribulation] I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sites on the throne and to the lamb!’”
There will be opportunity to be saved during the Tribulation period. However, Antichrist and the people of the world during the Tribulation will persecute and martyr those who come to Christ as Savior. Some put off salvation now thinking if what Christians say now comes to pass and is true, then they can accept Jesus as Savior later during the Tribulation. It would be too inconvenient for them to accept Jesus now; to give their lives to Christ now; to live for Him now. But if you can’t live for Jesus now, what makes you think you will be able to die for Him later?
At the end of the Tribulation the nations of the world will gather against God at Armageddon. The rebellion of humanity under the leadership of Antichrist will come to a head when they gather against Israel in the Valley of Megiddo. The prophet Zechariah and the Apostle John were inspired to describe this final war in the following ways:
· Zechariah 14:1-3 - Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.
· Revelation 16:13-16 - 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
This great maniacal battle will culminate with the 2nd Coming of Christ.
Jesus will visibly return and judge the nations at His 2nd Coming. This will be the most incredible event in recorded human history. Jesus will literally return to the earth and will then judge the nations of the earth. Jesus 2nd Coming is described in the following way in the Bible:
· Zechariah 14:4 - And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
· Matthew 24:29-31- 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
· Revelation 19:11-21 - 11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” 19 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. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
Once He returns Jesus will judge the nations. The Bible promises that every person and every nation will bow before the LORD:
· Daniel 2:44 - 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
· 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!”
Jesus will then judge the nations and the people in them. The righteous who accepted Him as Savior during the Tribulation who remain, will enter His kingdom. The unrighteous will be set aside for everlasting punishment (Mat. 25:31-46). The righteous will serve Jesus for eternity (Dan. 7:14). The saved of the nations will spend eternity with their Lord Jesus:
· Revelation 21:24-26 - 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
The Tribulation described in Revelation 6-19 is a horrendous time on earth. It is a time when God pours out His righteous wrath on a Christ rejecting world. It will be a scary time indeed. The knees of nations will buckle and the truth and righteousness of God enforced. Where is the United States in all of this? Will our nation be spared such a trying time? That depends. It depends on the path our nation follows. In our Part 3 of The United States in Prophecy we will consider how a nation falls. Later in this series we will learn what we can do to hopefully prevent the fall of the United States of America. Keep praying for our nation. Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.