“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16)
Paul understood up front at the start of his ministry that suffering came with the assignment.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)
Now well into his ministry, Paul understood that there was a knowledge of God and intimacy with him that can only be obtained by, “participation in his sufferings.” It is difficult to comprehend, but true, that those who have not suffered with Yeshua are missing out on intimate knowledge of our Lord. Obviously, we don’t go out looking to suffer for Jesus, but it is obvious that we should not try and avoid suffering for Him, if we do, we will miss out on an intimacy with Yeshua that brings us closer to Him and makes us more like Him.
This understanding is crucial as we draw closer to the last seven years before Jesus return, the 70th week of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy. It is a time of tribulation, escalating to great tribulation as Jesus opens the seven seals on The Scroll.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” Matthew 24:9-10
Just as Jesus refines the Jewish remnant in the last days as described in Zechariah.
“And 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
Likewise, Jesus will use tribulation, even great tribulation in the last six years prior to The Rapture to produce a meek and humble people that will trust Him implicitly. Sadly, as shown there will be a great falling away in the church, apostasy, Jesus also says, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
With the trumpet blast at the seventh seal, The Rapture takes place and simultaneously when The Scroll is opened God’s Wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.