WHILE THEY ARE SAYING "PEACE & SAFETY"
While They Are Saying
"Peace and Safety"
As incongruous—even oxymoronic— as it may sound to many astute Bible prophecy students, there is going to be a brief DELUSION of “peace and safety” right at the end of the Great Tribulation. I use the term “delusion” because it will actually be a false conception in a morally darkened world that peace and safety have arrived. On the face of it, there seems to be no possibility that anyone could be saying “peace and safety” at the end of a period Jesus called the
“great tribulation, such as has not occurred
since the beginning of the world until now,
nor ever shall. And unless those days
had been cut short,
no life would have been saved...”
Nevertheless, several Bible prophecy passages converge on just such a scenario—one that looks like this:
1. After three and one half years of the Great Tribulation the two witnesses will be slain in Jerusalem, resulting in a frenzied outburst of global celebration that “peace and safety” has finally come.
2. Then, like the snap of a trap, the Bowl Judgments will cascade from the sky in a rapid-fire, universal cataclysm so severe that no life could survive without divine intervention.
3. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky as Jesus returns to “cut short” two things— 1) the reign of the Antichrist, and 2) the extinction of all life on earth.
4. At last universal peace and safety will be achieved under the eternal dominion of the Kingdom of Christ.
I mentioned that several passages converge to reveal just such a scenario. We will examine 1 Thessalonians 5 which tells about a worldwide delusion of “peace and safety”, punctured by the onset of the Day of the Lord. In light of Joel 2 and Matthew 24 we will answer the question, When does the Day of the Lord occur? Furthermore, Where do we find evidence of life in a “peace and safety” mode any time during the Great Tribulation?
We will see that just such a scene is documented in both Luke 17 and Revelation 18.
Finally, we will turn to the account of the two witnesses in Revelation 11 to find the scenario which most likely leads to the “peace and safety” delusion described in 1 Thessalonians 5.
The Timing of the “Peace & Safety” Delusion
After telling the Christians in Thessalonica about the pretribulation Rapture (1 Thes 1:10; 4:13-18), the Apostle Paul tells them about a worldwide delusion that “peace and safety” had arrived, only to be blown away by the onset of the Day of the Lord, the “great day” of God’s wrath upon the world of the Antichrist.
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly
like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thes. 5:1-3)
Most expositors see the Day of the Lord as equivalent to the 7-year Tribulation period. That, of course, would place the time of “peace and safety” just prior to the Tribulation. But I think there is a basic error in chronology with this. The evidence from Scripture actually places the Day of the Lord at the END of the Tribulation (see “Timing...Day” below). That would mean that the time of “peace and safety” envisioned by unbelievers in 1Thes. 5:1-3 would also be at the end of the Tribulation, just prior to the Day of the Lord.
That brings up a whole new set of “sequence” challenges. How could anyone believe they were in a period of “peace and safety” at the tail-end of the Great Tribulation—a time of such horror and cataclysmic events that if it were “not cut short no life would be saved.” (Mat. 24:21-22) More ahead........
The Timing of the Day of the Lord
Zechariah 14:7 says there will be a “unique” (one of a kind) day, at the time that Jesus returns (His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, v. 4)—a day in which “the luminaries (sun, moon, stars) will dwindle”. Jesus placed the darkening of the sun and moon at the time of His return in Matthew 24.
1. Jesus said that the sun/moon sign would occur “immediately AFTER” the Great Tribulation, and just BEFORE His return. (Mat. 24:29-30)
2. Joel said that the sun/moon sign would occur BEFORE the Day of the Lord. (Joel 2:31)
3. Therefore, the Day of the Lord occurs AFTER the Great Tribulation, at the same time Jesus returns.
4. Since the delusion of “peace & safety” exists just BEFORE the Day of the Lord, then it must occur at the END of the Great Tribulation.
Others Who Agree That The Day Of The Lord Occurs AFTER The Tribulation
Grant Jeffrey, Prophecy Study Bible, p. 1369, note 5:1-8; Messiah, p. 281.
William Pettingill, 1001 Bible Questions, p. 294-95.
Renald Showers, Maranatha, (includes both a broad & narrow Day of the Lord) p. 36f.
John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1854, note 2:3-4.
Lehman Strauss, Book Of Revelation, p. 215.
A “Peace & Safety” Delusion
During the Great Tribulation in Luke 17
A clear second-coming passage is Luke 17:24-37. The very “day that Lot went out from Sodom” is compared to the very “day” (both indicate a singular day) that Jesus returns in glory to the earth. Notice what is happening in the world,
"It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:28-30)
This situation exists at the end of the Great Tribulation (see “When...Lot” below). When Jesus returns. there are people somewhere in the world who will be involved in the necessities of making a living.
Now, let’s look at another passage.
When Will The
“Days Of Lot” Appear?
1. In Luke 17:24, the glorious appearance of the Second Coming of Christ “just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky [and] shines to the other part of the sky” is a clear reference to His coming at the end of the Great Tribulation (see Matthew 24:27-30)
2. That appearance of lightning-like glory will happen on THE DAY that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:31)
3. It is compared to THE DAY that Lot fled Sodom (v. 28-29).
4. Therefore, on the day of the Second Coming of Christ, at the end of the Great Tribulation, somewhere, someplace, there will be everyday eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting and building activities happening on the earth.
A “Peace & Safety” Delusion
During the Great Tribulation in Revelation 18
Another clear second-coming passage is Revelation chapter 18. Note the activities carried on in that end-day mega-city up to the very moment of its destruction (see “When...Babylon” RIGHT).
2. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
10. [People] standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'
11. "And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more...
15. "The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning...
16. ...saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls...
17. ...for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!'
19. ... 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!'
22. "And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer...
23. ...and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth...
Now, correlate the Luke 17 & Revelation 18 passages on, and the Revelation 11:7-19 passage, with the activities that those passages teach will be going on at the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth at the end of the Great Tribulation as listed below...How can this be?
When Does Babylon Fall?
1. The 7 Bowl Judgments are “the last” of Gods wrath. (Rev. 15:1)
2. The “great city” of Babylon is destroyed “in one hour” (Rev. 18:17-19) in the 7th and final Bowl Judgment. (Rev. 16:17-19)
3. Babylon appears to be the last of the cities of the earth to fall in a series of catastrophes (Rev. 16:19) initiated by the 7th Bowl, which occurs as the Antichrist and his international coalition is gathered against Jerusalem and the Lord at Armageddon. (Rev. 16:16)
4. Therefore, on the day of the Second Coming of Christ, at the end of the Great Tribulation, at least in the great metro-plex of Babylon, there will be everyday business and trade, show business and celebration, etc., activities happening on the earth.
LIFE AS USUAL
“on the day”that Jesus Returns
Luke 17:28-30— RIGHT⇒
●viewing TV/Internet (v. 9; requires a global communications network)
●celebrating worldwide in unison (v. 10; requires instantaneous communication)
●sending gifts/international shipping (v. 10; requires an intact global postal network)
●financing (v. 11-16; requires a working international banking system)
●producing (v. 11-16; requires a viable capital, management & labor system)
●profit making (v. 17; “great” wealth requires “great profit”, and assumes a global marketplace)
●international commerce (v. 19; “ships at sea” require cargo & crews, fuel & maintenance, ports, etc.)
●entertainment industry (v. 22; assumes leisure time, events production & celebration venues, etc.)
●business & industry (v. 22; requires training, systems management, production & distribution, etc.)
●food processing (v. 22; requires millage & processing plants, refrigerated transport, etc.)
●power & utilities (v. 23; requires energy sources, generating plants & infrastructure)
●family life, love & marriage (v. 23; assumes a sense of confidence about the future)
●merchant stores (v. 11, 15, 23: requires a system of goods & services production, advertising & retail, etc)
More Indications of Functional Life at the End of the Tribulation Period
●An international coalition of “all the nations of the earth” gathered against Jerusalem in the Valley of Armageddon (Zec. 12:3; 14:2; Rev. 16:16; 19:19)— requires the massive transport of troops, machines & supplies, logistics & support, food, water, munitions, communication, coordination, etc. over vast areas of continents and oceans, in a VERY short window of time. Prior to the 7 Bowls, this is possible.
It is the 7 Bowl Judgments, as part of the Day of the Lord & 2nd Coming, which bring civilization to a halt.
The “Peace & Safety” Scene Occurs At The Death Of The Two Witnesses
“Peace & safety” at the end of the Great Tribulation? Revelation 11:10 shows just such a scene. “And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.” This is clearly a cry of “peace & safety” from the torment of the 2 Witnesses. The “peace & safety” delusion of 1 Thes. 5:3 does not require an ‘era’ of peace & safety; but it does require a global delusion that peace & safety has arrived, a delusion that is punctured by the explosion of the Day of the Lord. That is precisely what we read in Rev. 11:9-10, 15.
The Timing of the Two Witnesses
Look at the graph below. Note the BLUE in the middle—the Temple and the Abomination of Desolation. That is our chronological key to the major events of the Tribulation period. The Great Tribulation occupies the last half of the Tribulation period. It is 3.5 years long. Three time-terms refer to 3.5-years, as noted below. They all refer to the same 3.5-year Great Tribulation.
The Great Tribulation equals 3.5 years, or
42 months, or
1. When the Antichrist commits the Abomination in the Temple, the Jews flee, and the Great Tribulation begins. (Mat. 24:15-21)
2. The Great Tribulation begins the persecution of the saints by the Antichrist. This period will be limited to “time, times and half-a-time” according to Daniel 7:25. Revelation 13:5-7 states that the Antichrist will “make war with the saints” for “42 months.” Thus these two time-terms are equated.
3. Jesus warned the Jews to flee during this period (Mat. 24:15-21). The time period of the flight and divine protection of the Jews is referred to as both “1260 days” (Rev. 12:6) and “time, times and half-a-time” (Rev. 12:14). Thus these two time-terms are equated.
4. The great sacrilege of the End Time is the Abomination of the Temple (Dan. 12:11; Mat. 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:4). The two witnesses clothe themselves in sackcloth and protest this event for “1260 days”. The Abomination of the Temple is also the ultimate act that the Antichrist will employ to “tread under foot the holy city for 42 months.” Thus these two time-terms are equated.
5. The KEY ? ALL 3 time-terms are equated & linked to the central event of the Tribulation—the MIDDLE Event, the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.
When Are The
Slain & Resurrected?
1. The appearance and ministry of the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 occurs during the last 3.5 years —that is, during the Great Tribulation.
2. The proof is that the time-term, 1260 days, always refers to the Great Tribulation (see above), the same period as the ministry of the Two Witnesses.(Rev. 11:3)
3. For more proofs, see my book, The Sequence Of End Time Events (write & request, $15)
The Convergence of the “Peace & Safety” Passages
We have seen that 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, Luke 17:28-30, Revelation 18, and Revelation 11:7-12 all converge on a timeline that places them at the end of the Great Tribulation, just prior to the onset of the Day of the Lord. Graph RIGHT
The “Peace & Safety” Scenario
1. The 2 Witnesses torment the world of the Antichrist (Rev. 11:10) by their
God- given ability to call down the Trumpet Judgments (11:6) during the 3.5 year Great Tribulation.
2. The Antichrist slays them at the end of the Great Trib (11:7).
3. The entire planet erupts In joyous celebration for a period of 3.5 days—in anticipation that PEACE & SAFETY has at last arrived.
4. Then the 7th Trumpet (which triggers the 7 rapid-fire Bowl Judgments & the Day of the Lord-Return of Christ) is released to fulfill 1 Thes. 5:2-3—”While they are saying ‘Peace and safety’”... “the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night”...”suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman ... and they shall not escape.”
NOTICE: that quiet a number of events occur AFTER the Great Tribulation is “cut short” to its 3.5 year length. Things occur “after the Tribulation of those days.” (Mat. 24:29) Daniel 12:11-12 says there will be a 75-day interval between the 1260-day Great Tribulation and the opening of the Millennial Kingdom. One of the events which occurs during this brief interval is the “peace & safety” delusion, because the celebration of “peace & safety” (Rev. 11:9-10) happens AFTER the 2 Witnesses are killed at the END of the 1260 days. The Bowl Judgments/Day of the Lord which bursts this delusional bubble wide open must also occur during this time interval. (for other events during this period, see my book, The Sequence Of End Time Events).
No Life saved “unless those days are cut short”
—How can “normal activities” happen at that time?
1. The Trumpet Judgments target 33% of the earth.
2. The Bowl Judgments target 100% of the earth. With the spoiling of 100% of both vegetation and water on the earth, “no life would have been saved”, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:22.
3. While the Trumps “plague” the earth; The Bowls “kill” the earth. Without pure water, there is no life.
4. The Trumps span the Great Tribulation in a 3.5 year horizontal timeline— still, life goes on. But the Bowls, triggered by the 7th Trump, commence an assault on the earth in a rapid-fire vertical timeline (the Day of the Lord) with plagues so severe that life is only saved by the Return of Jesus.
5. During the Trumps, 66% of the earth, though heavily impacted and deeply troubled by the catastrophes which have affected 33% of the earth, will still carry on everyday life to some degree. We can see a picture of this, to a much lesser degree of course, when life carried on in Asia after the 2004 Indonesia tsunami (documented as “one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history”), or when day to day life continued after the 2011 Japan earthquake-tsunami, or when Superstorm Sandy hit about 33% of the continental United States. Some sense of normal life continued in 66% of the U.S. ... It will be the same just prior to the 7th Bowl Judgment and the Return of Jesus Christ...