The U.K. riots and the tribulation

Let me be very clear on this point: the tribulation has not yet begun. The present time period is a preparation for the tribulation. It is a time for repentance in the grace of God, though many are unrepentant. It is a time of increasing sufferings in the world: terrorism, natural disasters, economic and social problems. These sufferings are not the tribulation; they are a result of the increasing sinfulness of the world. This sinfulness is what calls down the tribulation upon the world.

However, the U.K. riots illustrate one of the sufferings that will occur during the tribulation, but to a very much greater extent: severe civil unrest. The second Seal of the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation, which is also the second horseman, is worldwide civil unrest and violence:

{6:3} And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying: “Draw near and see.”
{6:4} And another horse went forth, which was red. And it was granted to him who was sitting upon it that he would take peace from the earth, and that they would kill one another. And a great sword was given to him.

Peace is taken from the world, and so there is much violence, including many murders. This affects the whole earth, including both wealthy developed nations and the poorer developing nations. And it continues for many years, though with some increases and decreases in severity as it unfolds.

But it will be much like the U.K. riots. The riots are not really the result of any particular protest or issue. A man was shot by police, and a group of protesters held a march. But the rioting that broke out and is continuing is not mainly being done by protesters. Perhaps some of the protesters were initially involved in some of the violence, but quickly the violence moved to a different larger group, not motivated by concern over a police shooting. There has been looting, arson, vandalism, and attacks against members of the press trying to film these acts. A protest triggered pent up anger, frustration, and a willingness to commit crimes.

The present world is very sinful. Even in a seemingly law-abiding city or town or neighborhood, many persons have committed many gravely immoral acts in their lives. Many persons are only law-abiding because of the possible bad consequences to themselves if they were to break the law. But when an opportunity presents itself to commit crimes seemingly with impunity, the sinfulness of society reveals itself.

Peace will be taken from the world, but NOT because God lessens His grace. Peace is taken away because social restrictions and consequences break down. There are too many rioters for the police to control. There will be too many persons committing violent crimes, and the police will be overwhelmed. Then it will be seen who is truly doing good to please God, and who was formerly only doing good because it was advantageous to selfish goals.

In my opinion, the tribulation will begin soon. If the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising results in extremists taking power in those nations, then the tribulation will begin within months, with the start of World War 3. I expect this to happen either sooner (in 2011) or later (within a year or so). So either way the start of the tribulation and the severe civil unrest worldwide is not far away.

Spurn violence, except when necessary for self-defense or defense of your family. Prepare your soul to suffer though much adversity.

My books of eschatology are here. And here is a blog post on food storage. My book Apocalypse Survival Guide for Christians offers a lengthy consideration of practical preparations for the tribulation.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Biblical scholar

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