By Pastor F. M. Riley
March 7, 2013
“Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.
And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit: and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.
The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again,” Isaiah 24:17-20.
Any of our readers who watch the news on TV or read the newspapers, are surely aware of the tragic events that began last Sunday evening in Florida. A man in his own bedroom preparing to retire for the night was suddenly swallowed up by a “sinkhole” along with his whole bedroom. The sinkhole just suddenly appeared beneath the man’s home, and instantly the entire bedroom of the house collapsed into the sinkhole carrying the man to his death. This amazed many people who saw this story on the news media, but guess what?
The headlines of this story were already written in the inspired prophetic Word of God some 2,600 years ago. Read our text for this study again, and give glory to the Lord God of Heaven.
The Last “sign” given by the Lord Himself
The “Olivet Discourse” is primarily a prophecy given by the Lord Himself about “the last days” in answer to the questions asked of Him by four of His Jewish disciples, Mark 13:3; Matthew 24:3. The Lord began answering these questions in verses 4-8 of Matthew 24. Notice that in verse 8 the Lord explicitly stated, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” All of what? In verses 4-7 the Lord told the disciples that false messiahs would come in His name, wars and rumors of wars would come, nation would rise against nation [literally ethnos against ethnos….clashes between races and cultures], and kingdom would rise against kingdom [wars between nations], and there would be famines and pestilences. Notice that in verse 6 the Lord explicitly states that “all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” In other words, the Lord was making it clear that the things He was predicting to come in verses 4-8 would only lead up to the Tribulation period which brings this present “age” to an end. While some of the same things will continue to occur during the Tribulation, and likely get much worse, the things the Lord prophesied in these first seven verses of Matthew 24 would only be “the beginning of sorrows” leading up to the Tribulation period.
Folks, we know from history that the destruction of the Jewish Temple occurred in this present dispensation of grace in 70 A.D., forty years after the Lord ascended back to the Father in Heaven. So why is it so hard for some to understand that the things the Lord predicted in these first eight verses of
Matthew 24 have all occurred in this present dispensation? Well…??? Isn’t it also obvious that every one of these things mentioned by the Lord in these first eight verses are occurring RIGHT NOW in the world around us today? Hello!
Yes, I am laboring the point, for it is far past time for some so-called “prophecy teachers” to learn how to “rightly divide” the Olivet Discourse, just like the rest of God’s inspired Word. If any reader wants to know more about the right division of the Olivet Discourse, I will be glad to send my Bible study “The Olivet Discourse in Context” upon request.
Further, I labored my point here in order to emphasize the last thing the Lord prophesied in verse 7, “and earthquakes in divers places.” This is the very last “sign” the Lord gave which would precede and indicate that humanity was staring the Tribulation period in the face.
Now think about this! Over the past two or three years there have been massive earthquakes in various places all over the earth, and such earthquakes are increasing in frequency and intensity all the time. In this year alone  approximately ten to twelve large earthquakes have already occurred [quakes 6 or above on the richter scale]. Why is this happening? Why was this the last “sign” the Lord gave preceding the beginning of the Tribulation? I’m so glad you asked…..
Back to Isaiah 24
Notice in our text in Isaiah 24:19, the Scripture says, “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.” This Scripture is very plain in the English translation, but let’s examine it even more. The word “dissolved” in this Scripture is translated from the Hebrew word, “parar.” This Hebrew word literally means, “to split asunder; to shatter; to break; to be broken; to be broken asunder; to break in pieces; to cleft; to shake; to make void; to bring to nothing.” See Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, page 692, Strong’s No. 6565. Dear readers, every time one of these great earthquakes occurs, the interior of the earth is being broken up more and more. It is simple logic that when the interior of the earth is broken up to a certain extent, the surface of the earth will become totally unstable. Now let’s see how this applies to our Scripture text for this study.
It should be obvious to any reader that what Isaiah referred to as “a pit” is what we living today refer to as “a sinkhole.” Is it then just coincidence that in the past two years such sinkholes have been opening up in various countries all over the world? Some of them have been small, some of them a little larger, and some just plain gigantic in size. One such gigantic sinkhole suddenly opened up in a city in South America last year right in the main business section of town. Likely most of our readers remember seeing this on the main line news on TV. Some of these sinkholes are not very deep, but some have opened up in various places so deep people cannot even see the bottom of them.
Now story after story has been run on the news media about the sinkhole in Florida which swallowed up the man and his bedroom. What the news media failed to mention is that this same thing has happened in various places all over Florida in the past two years, but mercifully without loss of life. In fact, it is happening all over the earth. New sinkholes may be opening RIGHT NOW while I am writing this study. But this came as no surprise to our Lord. Such was predicted right here in Isaiah’s inspired prophecy 2,600 years in advance. The more these huge earthquakes occur, the more sinkholes or “pits” will be opening up all over the earth.
The Prophecy of Isaiah 24
What this prophecy is telling us is that the interior of the earth is going to become so broken up that during the Tribulation, a process which has already begun and is going on RIGHT NOW, that the surface of the earth will become totally unstable. A man [or woman or child] may be walking [or fleeing] and the ground will just suddenly collapse beneath their feet. They will plunge downward into “a pit” created by the sinkhole. According to Isaiah 24:18 some may survive and be able to crawl up out of “the pit.” But the Scripture passage also indicates that there will be two other judgments of God working right along with this one which they will then have to deal with…..
There will be something going on during the Tribulation referred to here in the Scriptures as “fear,”which will be accompanied or preceded by a “noise.” Notice the particular wording of verses 17-18. There will also be something going on in the heavens or sky above the earth referred to as “the snare.” The Scriptures explicitly predict that if one has fallen into “the pit” and is able to crawl up out of it, then they will be “taken in the snare.” 2
Dear readers, don’t even bother asking me. I have no idea what is meant by “the noise of the fear” or “the snare.” What these two judgments of God are awaits more revelation from the Lord God, Daniel 12:4.. We New Covenant believers living today may or may not have this revealed to us, for we will be raptured before the Tribulation begins. But those left on the earth to go into the Tribulation will most certainly know what “the fear” and the “noise” of it are, and what “the snare” is in the heavens above the earth, for they will literally see and experience these judgments.
Folks, these are just some of the terrible judgments awaiting those left on the earth during the Tribulation period. A careful study of Revelation will reveal many more judgments which are coming on those unbelieving Christ rejecters left on the earth during the Tribulation. These judgments are coming from the hand of, and by the will of, an angry God, and His equally angry Son, Revelation 6:16-17; 11:18.
For the past 2,000 years the God of Heaven has pleaded with humanity to receive the “way of salvation” which He Himself provided for mankind in the person of His own Son; the Lord Jesus Christ. For the most part, what humanity has done and is still doing today, is spurning the love of God [John 3:16], even to the extent of ridiculing and mocking God’s Son and God’s Word. Almighty God is and has been longsuffering with mankind upon the earth, but God’s patience with mankind is not infinite, Hebrews 2:3-4. God has “appointed the times” for everything He is doing in His Great Plan of the Ages. This is why the Scriptures specifically speak of this present dispensation of grace by saying, “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Those unbelievers who just keep “living it up” in sin and unbelief and ridicule and mockery of God’s Word are going to wake up some morning REAL SOON and find themselves in the terrible Tribulation period with no way out other than a brutal death at the hands of the anti-christ and his followers.
Now I ask every reader…..is that really what you want? If it isn’t, then it is time RIGHT NOW to “make your calling and election sure,” 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Peter 1:10. In other words, it is time to seek the Lord as your own personal Savior and get saved while His grace is still extended to lost men and women, boys and girls. Read John 3:3-7; 3:16-17; 3:36; 5:24; 6:47; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; 20:20-21; Romans 10:8-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5. Believe and act upon these Scriptures and the Lord God of Heaven will save you from your lost, sinful, condition. Hurry! Seek and call upon the Lord today! There is not much time left in this “dispensation of grace” for you to be saved. When it ends with the rapture of God’s people, then you will KNOW that you have been told the truth, but it will be too late to keep you from going into the terrible Tribulation period.
Folks, the Lord God knows that the fervent desire of my heart is to meet every reader in glory when our precious Savior and Lord comes to resurrect and rapture His people to glory, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; Revelation 3:10. Please don’t disappoint me!
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Permission is granted to any true believer or to any Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
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Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be contacted by email at:
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