Left behind on Earth

While the followers of the Lord Jesus are caught up, several groups are left behind on Earth. In this chapter, we will examine which groups these are and what happens to them. Many Bible verses discuss this topic, and for the purposes of this book, we will focus on a small selection of these verses.

Group 1: The People of Israel

In Chapter 4, we read that the people of Israel will be disciplined during the Great Tribulation and will undergo a difficult time. Many will be killed, but a small remnant will find favor with God and be saved. In this section, we will briefly discuss the key moments in the history of the people of Israel. It's important to first go back to the Old Testament because without this foundation, we won't fully understand the New Testament and the Great Tribulation.

Israel in the Old Testament
The Old Testament speaks of the people of Israel and God's covenant with various individuals from this people. In the Book of Genesis, we read that God made a covenant with Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, and blessed him. God chose one people to live as holy before Him, and through this people, God intended to bless all other nations.

"Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3)

This is how the people of God were born. It began with one man who lived in separation. He had to leave his land, family, and house and go to a place where he knew no one. The people of God consisted of one person initially, but not just any person – a person with faith in God.

"Now Abram took Sarai, his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. (...) Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants, I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him." (Genesis 12:5-7)

Abraham left his home and went to the land of Canaan, which is modern-day Israel. While he lived there as a stranger, he received the promise that the entire land would be given to his descendants.

"And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you."" (Genesis 13:14-17)

The descendants of Abraham would inherit the land forever, and the descendants would be innumerable (Genesis 15:5). God promised it, and not only that, but God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:7-21). It was going to happen.

"On the same day, the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants, I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates."" (Genesis 15:18)

This land is vast, stretching from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Syria and Iraq. The Promised Land includes (parts of) Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and modern-day Israel. This has never happened in history and will occur during the Millennial Reign. Afterward, Abraham received a great promise.

After Abraham knew that God Himself (the Lord Jesus) would come to Earth as the Lamb to provide reconciliation for humanity (Genesis 22), he was told that this would come through his descendants, and this Descendant would be a blessing to all nations.

"And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." (Genesis 22:8).

"So the two of them went together. In your seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice."" (Genesis 22:18)

The blessing of Abraham was passed down only to his son, Isaac. Abraham's other sons received beautiful and unique blessings from God but were not counted as Abraham's descendants. They even had to leave the territory of Isaac.

"But God said to Abraham: (...) Only the son of the bondwoman will I establish as your heir." (Genesis 21:12)

"Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son." (Genesis 25:5-6)

After Abraham had passed, Isaac received Abraham's inheritance and, in addition, God blessed Isaac.

"And it came to pass after the death of Abraham that God blessed Isaac his son." (Genesis 25:11)

Isaac received the same promises as Abraham. His descendants would be numerous, and they would dwell in the promised land (Genesis 26:3-4). The blessing of Isaac was passed on (through a trick) to Jacob, who later became known as Israel.

'Then he said: "Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!"' (Genesis 27:27-29)

Many years later, the kingdom of Israel was established. The second king was King David, and God made a significant promise to him.

"Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:16)

The throne of David would be established forever. Initially, God spoke about David's son Solomon and his further descendants. However, this is also a prophetic reference to the Millennial Reign (and beyond) and pertains to the Lord Jesus, as the angel told Mary. The Lord Jesus is a descendant of King David, and He will soon take His place on the throne of David forever.

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom, there will be no end." (Luke 1:32-33)

Some blessings for Israel include:

  • Those who bless Israel will be blessed.
  • Those who curse Israel will be cursed.
  • Israel will become a great nation with innumerable descendants.
  • Israel will receive the land between the Euphrates and the Nile.
  • The Lamb of God comes from the lineage of Israel.
  • Nations will serve Israel, and Israel will rule over their brethren.
  • The kingdom of David will stand forever.
  • The Lord Jesus will be the eternal king over Israel.

Israel in the New Testament and Today
In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus was born. It is noteworthy that initially, He was sent only for the people of Israel and not for the Gentile nations. We do not see Bible stories where the Lord Jesus went to Europe, America, Africa, or East Asia. The Lord Jesus was a Jew and was there for the Jews. He spoke to them and performed miracles and signs in Israel. The Lord Jesus said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24). Israel is not just any land or people on Earth; it is God's chosen people. God Himself (Jesus) lived among them for 33 years, and Jesus preached about the kingdom of God for three years. The people did not want to listen, and the Jews decided to have Him crucified. The King of Israel came, and they refused to acknowledge Him. Because the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus, the Gentile nations had the opportunity to serve Him as God and hear the good news of God. Through the Jews' rejection, salvation came to the Gentiles.

"For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world (...)" (Romans 11:15)

The Jews rejected their Messiah, and as a result, the Gentiles gained access to God. God knew this from the beginning, yet He sent His Son to Israel. What grace from God. Today (and in the past), we see that some Jews believe in Jesus and thus become part of the body of Christ. They will be caught up with the other believers during the Rapture. However, a significant part of Israel has experienced hardening, and God has closed their eyes.

"God has given them a spirit of deep sleep, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day." (Romans 11:8)

God made great promises to the people of Israel: Israel would become the mightiest nation on earth, and all nations would be blessed through them. The King came to the people, but they rejected Him. Now, God has closed their eyes and put them into a deep sleep. Is this the end of the story? No! Because the Jews will awaken, and their ears will hear. God has put Israel on hold so that He could work with the Gentiles and the Church of Christ for two thousand years. At the end of these two thousand years, we see that God is restoring Israel. Presently, Israel is once again a nation in the Middle East, but spiritually, Israel is still asleep. The body is there, but it is waiting for God's Spirit to breathe life into it (Ezekiel 37). This will happen at the end of the Great Tribulation.

Israel and the Antichrist
Let's look at Israel during the time of the Great Tribulation. The Antichrist strengthens his covenant with the land, ushering in a period of peace and safety. The Jews will believe that the Antichrist is their long-awaited Messiah, not realizing that they are making a pact with evil. The following text refers to the Antichrist.

"Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week, he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate." (Daniel 9:27)

Midway through the week, during the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation, the 'friendly' Antichrist, whom Israel thought was their Messiah, becomes a terrible person. He stops the sacrificial system in Israel and places a horrifying abomination in the temple of God. He sits in the temple and demands that the Jews worship him as their God.

"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, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (2 Thessalonians 2:4-5)

During these 3.5 years, he seeks to destroy the Jews and wage war against God.

"He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time." (Daniel 7:25)

The 'saints of the Most High' refers to Israel.

Israel Under Fire
Today, Israel is a small country in the Middle East with an area of 22,145 square kilometers. For comparison, the Netherlands is nearly twice as large at 41,543 square kilometers, and Suriname is over seven times larger at 163,820 square kilometers. Yet, Israel is frequently in the news, continually criticized, and has experienced several wars since its rebirth in 1948. According to the Bible, during the Great Tribulation, there will be two or more terrible wars. We read about the Gog and Magog war, the ten kings (are they at war, or do they seize power through an alliance?), and the Battle of Armageddon.

In the Gog and Magog war, the Antichrist is not mentioned. This war might occur before the Antichrist comes to power, or it may happen before the Great Tribulation begins. The Bible speaks twice of Gog and Magog attacking Israel. The first war is described in the book of Ezekiel, and the second in the book of Revelation. The first one occurs during or just before the Great Tribulation, and the second takes place after the thousand-year reign. A detailed account of this war is found in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Many nations will wage war against Israel, including, according to some Bible scholars, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and North African countries. It's a massive military force against which Israel would typically lose. However, God decides that Israel will achieve victory through supernatural intervention.

"For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,' says the Lord GOD. 'Every man's sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD." (Ezekiel 38:19-23)

What a world event that will be! A terrible war in which a small nation wins against mighty nations through divine intervention! Israel will burn the enemy's war weapons, which they will use as fuel for seven years.

"Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years." (Ezekiel 39:9)

After the Gog and Magog war, a new war or domination under the leadership of the Antichrist follows. Daniel spoke of ten kings who would destroy the entire world. The Antichrist is their leader. The fourth kingdom is the kingdom during the Great Tribulation, and Daniel saw this kingdom in a vision as a beast with ten horns on its head.

"Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it, and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever."(Daniel 7:23-26)

The Antichrist and the kings will overcome the people of Israel, and the Antichrist will become the leader of the world. The Antichrist is the little horn that will subdue three horns (kings). They will devour and trample the earth, and the Antichrist will have power over the land of Israel for 3.5 years. In Daniel 12, we read that there will be continuous wars, also directed against other nations. It is not a pleasant time to live in.

Finally, we look at the last war, in which the Antichrist intends to fight against the Lord Jesus. Israel and Jerusalem are (largely) in the hands of the Antichrist, and now the Antichrist wants to call all nations to battle against the Lord Jesus and His followers. The Lord Jesus comes to the earth and destroys the Antichrist and his followers. He liberates Israel and crowns Himself as the King of the world. He will judge the nations from Jerusalem for a thousand years.

"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. 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. (...) And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon." (Revelation 16:13-16)

"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. 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." (Revelation 19:20-21)

Israel is Protected
Israel will experience terrible wars. The first war, the people will win, but not the second war or the domination of the Antichrist. The Antichrist will initially appear moderate and will be a false Messiah to the Israelis (and likely to the Muslims as well). When he reveals his true character, he will stop the recurring sacrifices in Israel and set up an abomination in the temple. This will be the signal for the Jews to flee to the mountains, as the Antichrist will do everything in his power to destroy the Jewish people.

"Therefore when you see the "abomination of desolation," spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:15-16)

These mountains are located in a desert. The Jews who have fled will be pursued by the devil, but God will protect them (Revelation 12). God will speak to their hearts, and they will recognize Him as their God and Husband. This was discussed in Chapter 6, the wedding feast.

Hardening Leads to Salvation
After the Church of Christ is raptured, God's plan with the people of Israel continues, despite all the wars and deceptions in the world.

"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob."" (Romans 11:25-26)

Israel's present hardening is in place until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Then all Israel will be saved. Israel's process takes seven years: the Great Tribulation. During the Tribulation, the Antichrist will do everything to destroy the saints of God, the people of Israel. He wants to prevent the return of the Lord Jesus and His rule over the world from Israel during the thousand-year reign. God holds the entire world in His hand, even during the Great Tribulation. God allows the Antichrist and the devil to mislead and wreak havoc on the world for seven years, but God sets clear boundaries. One boundary is that He protects a portion of the people of Israel, and the devil cannot exterminate this portion. Unfortunately, many Jews die in the Great Tribulation, but the group that remains will know the LORD and confess that the LORD is their God.

"It shall come to pass in all the land," says the LORD, "that two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; and each one will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:8-9)

The 144,000 Sealed
During the Great Tribulation, we read about 144,000 sealed individuals from the people of Israel. Before all Israel is saved, God begins with 144,000 individual Jews from various tribes.

"Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: one hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed." (Revelation 7:4)

These sealed individuals are the first to be redeemed by God and are the firstfruits of Israel's salvation. They will praise and worship the Lamb and will be protected from the mark of the beast. In Revelation 14, we read about them after the Great Tribulation on Mount Zion.

"Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Revelation 14:1-5).

They are redeemed from among men and are the firstfruits of God from Israel. God begins with 144,000 people during the Great Tribulation. The term ‘firstfruits’ means that they are the first crop of the harvest. The harvest becomes greater. They do not tell lies and are not defiled by women because they are pure and dedicated to God (2 Corinthians 11:2). In the second case, women can also be part of the sealed. In any case, it is clear that these sealed individuals are completely devoted to God and the Lord Jesus and live a holy life. Today, and especially during the Tribulation, everyone can see that God's plan with Israel has resumed.

The Two Witnesses
During the Great Tribulation, something special happens in Jerusalem. God sends two witnesses to testify about the Lord Jesus. They will tell people about the Lord Jesus and perform various miracles on Earth. God wants to reach the people on Earth, showing that even in His time of wrath, He is still merciful. This story is found in Revelation 11. The inhabitants of the Earth will kill them, but they will rise from the dead. See also Chapter 3: The Two Witnesses.

The Saints
With saints, it can refer to the people of Israel or the believers in Jesus. The following Bible verses may refer to Israel or those who have come to faith after the rapture of the Church and do not primarily refer to the Church of Christ, which has been raptured into the air.

"I was watching; and the same horn (the Antichrist) was making war against the saints (Israel and believers after the rapture), and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints (Israel and believers after the rapture) of the Most High, and the time came for the saints (Israel and believers after the rapture) to possess the kingdom. (...) the saints (Israel and believers after the rapture) of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever." (Daniel 7:21-25)

"It was granted to him to make war with the saints (Israel and believers after the rapture) and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation." (Revelation 13:7)

"Here is the patience of the saints (Israel and believers after the rapture); here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12).

In Conclusion
Israel will go through a time of distress. During the Great Tribulation, Israel is on Earth, and in this difficult and challenging time, God will speak to its heart. Before the Great Tribulation, the Jews do not know the Lord Jesus, but by the end of the Great Tribulation, they will. God disciplines Israel, and after the Tribulation, God will always shepherd Israel as King and Shepherd. When the book of Revelation or another book speaks of saints during the Great Tribulation, it mainly refers to the people of Israel. It does not refer to the Church of Christ, as it has been raptured into heaven. After the Great Tribulation, all of Israel's blessings will be fulfilled during the thousand-year reign.

Some blessings of Israel include:

  • Some blessings of Israel include:
  • Blessing those who bless Israel.
  • Cursing those who curse Israel.
  • Israel becoming a great nation with countless descendants.
  • Israel receiving the land between the Euphrates and the Nile.
  • Nations serving Israel, and Israel ruling over its brothers.
  • The kingdom of David enduring forever.
  • The Lord Jesus being the eternal King over Israel.

The devil wants to prevent this at all costs, which is why we see so much anti-Semitism in the world. Unfortunately, this will increase and reach its peak during the Great Tribulation.

Group 2: Believing Gentiles After the Rapture

In addition to the people of Israel, many Gentiles come to faith during the Great Tribulation, which is the second group we can distinguish. Their decision to follow Jesus is not without consequences, as the Antichrist is very vengeful and does not want followers of Jesus to live on Earth. He decides to wage war against them, and God allows the Antichrist to overcome them. The followers are mass-murdered. These believers must make a radical choice. They have to choose between their earthly life on Earth or their eternal life with God. There is no middle ground. The Antichrist seduces them to take the mark of the beast. If they do, they can buy and sell, and their life on Earth continues. The mark ensures that the person is permanently separated from God; there is no turning back. If they refuse, they can do nothing, and they await death. Many choose the latter and are killed by the Antichrist. Immediately after their death, they come to heaven.

"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held." (Revelation 6:9)

This is the first group of martyrs that we encounter. It is said to them that they will not be the only ones. Many more followers of Jesus on Earth will be killed by the Antichrist.

"And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." (Revelation 6:10-11)

During the Great Tribulation, God gives these believers a command. They must flee from the kingdom of the Antichrist, which is referred to as the great city Babylon in the next verse. God does not want them to be affected by the judgments He intends to bring upon this area. This Bible verse refers to believers after the rapture who live in this kingdom and occurs shortly before Babylon is destroyed, and the Lord Jesus returns to Earth.

"And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.'" (Revelation 18:4-5)

Ultimately, this group of believers forms an immense multitude that no one can count. God reaches many people during the Great Tribulation.

"After these things 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 I said to him, 'Sir, you know.' So he said to me, 'These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'" (Revelation 7:9-14)

God looking after the Gentile nations is prophesied by the prophet Isaiah. This prophecy has already been fulfilled but continues to apply during the Great Tribulation by God's grace. The Lord Jesus remains a light to the Gentile nations. God says to His Servant, the Lord Jesus, that it is too small a thing for Him to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back those of Israel who are preserved. He has also given Him as a light to the Gentiles, to be His salvation to the ends of the earth.

"He says: 'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'" (Isaiah 49:6)

Group 3: The Ungodly 

We will discuss one more group: the ungodly. God intervenes in world events. One disaster follows another, and everyone knows that God exists. From the book of Revelation, we can follow this group, and we see that most of them are not inclined to repent. Even though God intervenes and makes it clear to everyone that He has everything under control, many are stubborn and want to live without God.

The first text we address from Revelation is in Revelation 3. In this text, God keeps His followers from the hour of trial. Then John writes the reason for the trial, which is to test those who dwell on the earth. This happens during the Great Tribulation.

"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." (Revelation 3:10)

Those who dwell on the earth are the unbelievers and not the believers. This term appears only in the book of Revelation, and from the context, it can always be deduced that it refers to unbelievers. Therefore, we can assume that Revelation 3:10 also refers to unbelievers. God keeps the Church of Christ in heaven and tests the unbelievers on earth.

The next Bible verse is found in the chapter where the seals of the scroll are opened. One disaster follows another, and many people who come to faith after the rapture are murdered. Their souls cry out:

"They cried out with a loud voice: How long, O holy and true Sovereign, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth? And a long white robe was given to each of them. And it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." (Revelation 6:10-11)

Once again, the unbelievers are referred to as those who dwell on the earth. These cannot be the believers because why would the souls cry out for their brothers and sisters to be killed? On Earth, unbelievers are actively trying to locate and kill other followers of Jesus.

In the same chapter, we read what those who dwell on the earth say.

"Then the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" (Revelation 16:15-17)

Everyone on Earth flees and hides in caves and among the rocks in the mountains. They know that Jesus is pouring out His wrath on Earth, and they know that no one will survive it. There is total panic, but none of the ungodly think about repenting. If they repent, God is merciful, but if they do not, they will remain under the wrath of the Lamb. These cannot be believers either, as believers should eagerly await the coming of Jesus (Revelation 22). Even an angel pronounces woes upon them.

"And I saw and heard one angel flying in mid-heaven, saying with a loud voice, 'Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!'" (Revelation 8:13)

The first angel who gets to blow his trumpet after this pronouncement blows it. A star (likely a fallen angel or the devil) falls to Earth, and this star opens the bottomless pit. This is where a number of demons reside. They appear as locusts and are given power by God to harm unbelievers. Only those who have God's seal on their foreheads, the 144,000 sealed, are exempt from this plague. Again, the wrath of God falls upon unbelievers.

"And they were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them." (Revelation 9:4-6)

Then it's the turn of the sixth angel who blows his trumpet. He is instructed to release other angels, who will go throughout the world and kill one-third of humanity, likely through wars on the Earth. Those who survive these disasters do not turn to God but continue with their sinful lifestyles.

"So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. (...) And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. (...) But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts." (Revelation 9:15-21)

Following this, John sees the two witnesses in Jerusalem. After these witnesses give their testimony, we read the following.

"When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth." (Revelation 11:7-10)

Those dwelling on the Earth are happy that the two witnesses have been killed. They send gifts to each other and celebrate. The two witnesses tormented the inhabitants of the Earth with their testimony and the plagues they brought. Here again, it speaks of unbelievers. To them, those who testify about God and the Lord Jesus are a torment, while for believers, witnessing is an encouragement. After lying dead on the ground for three days, a spirit of life from God enters them, and they ascend to heaven. Following this, there is an earthquake, and seven thousand people are killed. This great miracle causes the remaining people to honor the God of heaven. This is a unique situation during the Great Tribulation!

"Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake, seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven." (Revelation 11:11-13)

In Revelation 12, we read a woe to the inhabitants of the Earth because the devil has been cast down to the Earth. The heavenly inhabitants rejoice, but the Earth's inhabitants face a great problem.

"Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." (Revelation 12:12)

Besides the Earth's inhabitants, this is also a significant problem for the Jews who haven't fled to the wilderness and for the believers who come to faith after the Rapture.

"And the dragon (the devil) was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 12:17).

The devil gives power and authority to the beast (the Antichrist). The Antichrist becomes the ruler over all nations and tongues. He performs great wonders and signs, and his deadly wound is healed (perhaps he rises from the dead or survives an assassination attempt?). The Earth marvels at the Antichrist and worships him. Everyone on Earth who is not written in the Book of Life will worship him. The Earth's inhabitants reject the Lord Jesus and worship the devil and the Antichrist. It's indeed a strange world!

"And they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (...) And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain." (Revelation 13:4-8)

Alongside the Antichrist stands the False Prophet. The False Prophet points to the Antichrist and ensures that everyone worships him. He deceives the inhabitants of the earth and devises a dreadful plan. He creates an image for the beast and compels everyone to worship it. Those who refuse to do so are to be killed. Additionally, people receive the mark of the beast, which enables them to buy and sell.

"Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also, it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666." (Revelation 13:11-18)

People are terribly deceived, and the False Prophet ensures that everyone receives a mark. I don't know exactly what this mark entails. It could be a tattoo, a stamp, an imprint, or a chip implanted in or on the body. It might be something entirely different that resembles a mark. However, taking this mark is strictly forbidden by God. If someone takes it, there is no turning back, and eternal torment awaits.

"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." (Revelation 14:9-12)

If you are reading this book after the Rapture of the Church, I strongly urge you not to take the mark. Remain steadfast in your faith in God and Jesus, and do not accept the mark. It is better to be killed and persecuted by the Antichrist and be with God in heaven than to obey the Antichrist and be lost for eternity.

The people on earth largely refuse to repent, but God still calls upon them to do so. God's mercy continues, even in these dire times.

"Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people." (Revelation 14:6)

Instead of repenting, they blaspheme God because of the plagues they experience.

"The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds." (Revelation 16:10-11)

"And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe." (Revelation 16:21)

When the kingdom of the Antichrist, the city of Babylon, falls, the merchants of the earth will mourn. Babylon is a city filled with impurity, immorality, and demons. Sin accumulates to the heavens. However, the people don't care; they can trade with the city, and in their eyes, it's a city of great importance. They only focus on earthly matters, and all morality and ethics vanish. This is something we increasingly see around us today. At some point, God's patience runs out. God has been patient for a long time, but eventually, He intervenes and gives the city a taste of its own medicine.

"And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. (...) And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore. (...) And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. “The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste." (Revelation 18:9-19).

After this judgment, the Lord Jesus engages in the final battle with the Antichrist. The Antichrist has deceived many kings to join him in fighting against the Lord Jesus. Besides kings, many inhabitants of the earth are involved in this battle. The Lord Jesus prevails, and the wicked who were fighting are destroyed.

"And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” (...) And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh." (Revelation 19:17-21)

Many will perish on this day and not survive. God has won; the inhabitants of the earth have lost. They await the Great White Throne judgment for a thousand years, where they will be judged. We will delve into this in Chapter 11. In this chapter, we briefly touch on the judgment that takes place after this battlefield. Not everyone engages in battle against the Lord Jesus; some stay home. The Lord Jesus divides this group into two: the sheep and the goats. They are judged based on their deeds. This is not the final judgment that occurs after the millennial reign, as that would mean someone can enter heaven by their works alone. This is a different judgment.

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (...)" Then He will also say to those on the left hand, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (...)" (Matthew 25:31-41)

The sheep represent those who have cared for the brethren of the Lord Jesus, while the goats represent those who have not. The sheep are granted access to the kingdom, the thousand-year reign, while the goats have no right to it. They are condemned and await the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, which is hell. The sheep enter the kingdom, and from them, new generations emerge. The earth is repopulated. In the Old Testament, we can find a similar event.

"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land. They have cast lots for My people, have given a boy as payment for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink." (Joel 3:1-3)

The nations are summoned, and their treatment of the brothers of Jesus, in this case, the Israelites, is examined. If the people have acted kindly, they may enter the Millennial Kingdom. If they have acted wrongly, they are cast into hell.


On Earth, after the Rapture of the Church, three groups can be distinguished. The first group is the people of Israel. Several nations seek to destroy Israel through war and domination. Antisemitism during the Great Tribulation is significant, and the Antichrist tries to deceive and kill them. Many will perish, but God extends grace to a small remnant. He will lead this group into the wilderness and protect them from the Devil and the Antichrist. The second group consists of those who come to faith after the Rapture. The Antichrist despises them and seeks to exterminate them. God permits him to overcome the believers on Earth. The most significant deception is the Mark of the Beast. Anyone who takes it is lost, and believers must resist and refuse it. The third group comprises the ungodly. God judges them, and they endure great suffering. Despite everything, they do not repent and continue to commit ungodly deeds. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus prevails, and they are killed. A smaller group will face a trial before the Lord Jesus. The sheep may enter the Millennial Kingdom, while the goats are ultimately cast into hell.

This chapter is in the book A Revelation of the End Times. Read this book right now, so that you don't miss anything about the end times, live in expectation and your faith is increased. The rapture of the church is a special prophecy from the Word of God. Due to the many theories and ideas about this event, many no longer know what is and what is not Biblical. Timo Groot takes you through the Biblical data about the rapture and why the rapture is more relevant today than ever before. The rapture is the hope of escaping the terrible things that are going to happen on earth and is the moment when the church will see the Lord Jesus face to face in the father's house of God.

Also read: