Toughen Up

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When my parents move from New York back to Puerto Rico I was only in second grade elementary school. It was a tough transition. I did not know the kids and I was not a part of any group. Kids are cruel, they said. Well, those kids made fun of the color of my skin and it seems like I was getting into fights every week. All the kids I fought were bigger and stronger than me, but I never cower away.

In middle school it did not get any easier; now we move to the one middle school in the whole town and all of the barrios from that town went there. I literally fought somebody from every single barrio. Again, I fought some kids that were bigger and stronger; some of them intimidated me, but I never showed any fear. There was something in the inside of me that told me… TOUGHEN UP ANGEL! Little that I know that some of the things I was going through in the flesh were preparing me for the spiritual battles that I was to after becoming a Christian and even today.

Today we are living a time in the church where we are fighting an even more intense fight and we all must toughen up. There is no doubt that we are in the midst of very dark times. The border is out of control, Israel is in a war and the Coronavirus is still controlling the world. The media, Hollywood, corrupt politicians and people of influence are controlling a very demonic narrative and, if anybody dares to go against that narrative they are simply destroy. There is no doubt that, the United States of America is no longer the land of the free and the home of brave. The Coronavirus has tested the faith of all of us as believers and also expose the lack of faith of many.

I hope to encourage you to keep the faith as I take you into the future, to the worse time the church will ever experience… the days of the great tribulation. Revelation 13:1-10 tells us,

And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne, and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been fatally wounded, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;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 is able to wage war with him?” A mouth was given to him speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slaughtered. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints. (NIV)

The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John in the Island of Patmos. This island is located off the west coast of Turkey. Today it has a population of about 3,000 people. John was the only Apostle that was not murdered for his faith. History tells us that the Romans tried to fry him alive, but he suffered no injuries. He was then thrown into this island to die.

To understand the times of the Great Tribulation we must point out some Basic Characteristics of the Antichrist:

  1. The antichrist will be a man.
  2. He will be blaspheming God openly. (Verse 1)
  3. The antichrist will walk with authority given to him by the devil himself. (Verse 2)
  4. In a direct attempt to imitate the resurrection of Christ, the antichrist will be murdered, but will come back to life. (Verse 3)
  5. The whole world will worship this man. (Verse 3-4)
  6. The antichrist will rule the world for 3 and half years. (Verse 5)

The antichrist will kill Christians with the approval of the whole world. It will be politically correct to kill us. There will be no protection for Christians, no human rights, no freedom of religion, no constitution, no guns, etc. The antichrist will kill Christians without any resistance. (Verse 7)

Let me take the time to point out that for those who like to teach that the rapture will take place before the tribulation I want you to consider these points: a) There is no great tribulation unless saints are in it because the tribulation is against God’s people. b) If the rapture takes place before the tribulation, then we must conclude that people will still be saved during the tribulation and pay with their lives while the rest of the saints are departed with Jesus. 

8. Everybody will worship the antichrist with the exceptions of the Christians; that is the main reason we will be killed. (Verse 8)

As we continue to read Revelation 13, we see the emerging of the false prophet. The false prophet’s job is to make people worship the antichrist and he will also walk in a great deal of power with signs and wonders. Revelation 13:16-18 ends with these verses relating to the False Prophets and description of the economy of the great tribulation

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (KJV)

Beloved, the Coronavirus vaccines are not the mark of the beast; nobody is telling us to worship the antichrist. However, I believe this vaccine situation is a rehearsal for the mark of the beast. Imagine a time when you won’t be able to buy or sell, make a living, buy food, etc. unless you have this mark on your body. This is where our society is ultimately going.

Now, what I just showed you, from Scripture, is a little picture of how the great tribulation is going to look like. Now I am going to show you how Jesus tells believers to respond during that time and how believers should respond now. Let’s go back to Revelation 13:10

If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.

Believers are called to do two things in tough times:

To persevere: The Greek definition of this Word, is “To remain under. It refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or give up under trial.[1]

Have Faith in God: The Greek definition of this word is “Firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, faithfulness.”[2]

Based on these definitions we must do three things when face with tribulations in life:

  1. Remain under God.
  2. Never surrender our faith in Christ.
  3. Always maintain our belief and conviction of the truth.

The Apostle Paul understood this when he states in 2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (NIV)

Beloved our instruction from the Lord is to toughen up in Him! You receive a bad report from the doctor? Toughen up! Your children are acting crazy? Toughen up! You lost your job? Toughen up! Your marriage is not going well. Toughen up! Fill in the blanks and… Toughen up! We must understand that there should be no room for cowards in the Body of Christ. Revelation 21:8 tells us,

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

We love to judge the sexually immoral, but the cowardly are in the same category and, will have the same end-result.

In conclusion, we can’t be talking about the power of God while scare of the Coronavirus wearing two mask and a shield, wearing mask when we are alone in our cars, wearing a mask when we are with our spouses, outside riding the bicycle, jogging, etc. Beloved, our days are in God’s hands not in Dr. Fauci’s. Don’t be a coward… Toughen up!  


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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