ARE OUR CHURCHES PREPARING US FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION?

Jesus taught explicitly that one of the ways you will know His return is imminent is you will see the Antichrist claiming to be God in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place. . .  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

Paul confirms that the Antichrist will come before Jesus returns to Rapture the Saints:

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”                         (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).

John records numerous instances in the Book of Revelation of Jesus warning the saints to become Overcomers of the beast’s system (e.g. Revelation 14:9–12).

In the light of all these Scriptures, why do so many hold on to the Pretribulation Rapture position? Could it be, because we don’t want to believe that God would put us through the intense persecution that the Bible tells us Christians will endure during the last seven years before Jesus returns? It is described as a time of tribulation and great tribulation after the midpoint when the Antichrist “takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”.

None of us like the thought that we may have to die for our Christian faith under the regime of the Antichrist. But it is God’s will that ultimately matters. He knows better than us, therefore we need to trust His will because it is all-wise, all-good, all-sovereign.

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts your thoughts.” 

It may be God’s will that we confront the Antichrist system. We need to trust God, as have many martyrs before us, that He will be with us in the ordeal. What an honour it would be; to be a witness for the true God of the universe, to give glory to Him and to receive a martyrs crown. Pray God will give us the strength to stand up boldly for Him.

God may very well call us to be a Daniel and stand up to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. Or Daniel’s companions, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) confined to the fiery furnace. Or to be a David and stand up to Goliath when he mocked and blasphemed his God. 

Many churches in America and many in Australia stay away from the  subject of “end times” altogether, but many also preach the Pretribulation Rapture position, in both cases they are not preparing their congregations for the coming tribulation. Even worse they are not challenging their congregations about the urgency of the hour and the need to get about our Father’s business and obey Jesus command to preach the Gospel and make disciples.

 

 

REALITY OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP

Good to see this video from Torben about the reality of his experience when sharing the GOSPEL on the streets. When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples His instructions were:

EXPECT PERSECUTION

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household.” Matthew 10:16-25

HAVE NO FEAR

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.Matthew 10:26-33

NOT PEACE BUT A SWORD

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.Matthew 10:34-39

ETERNAL REWARDS

?Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.Matthew 10:40-42

 

GOD’S WRATH IS COMING UPON HIS CREATION

The Bible is clear, Christians will endure great tribulation in the “last days” and our Middle Eastern Christian brothers and sisters are already experiencing it.

The following extract from an article by P. E. Harris, pastor at Seely Community Church, is a heart-felt rendition of the dangers of believing the notion that the Great Tribulation will be God’s Wrath. The entire article is worth reading (click on READ MORE HERE at the end):

“A few days ago on a Sunday, a demoniacally deranged man shot up a Christian church in Sutherland Springs Texas. The shooter was a radical atheist who wanted to kill everyone in that church. The list of the dead range from an 18-month-old baby to a 77-year-old grandmother. Unfortunately, this kind of violence against churches has become the new norm in the United States, and Christians are genuinely perplexed how something like this could happen here. But this phenomenon is nothing new to the Church of Jesus Christ. Both our Lord and the Apostles warned us in Scripture that times of persecution would come upon the people of God. They warned us that tribulation would follow genuine devotion to Christ.

We orthodox evangelicals pride ourselves in our ability to rightly divide the Word of God. We preach and teach the Historical / Grammatical method of interpretation, and rightly so. To us, the idea of reading allegories or other foreign ideas into the text is reprehensible. We also tend to pride ourselves on our ability to weed out theological positions that are purely based on false traditions and cultic mysticism, rather than solid scriptural evidence. This is because we rightly believe the Word of God is the inerrant final authority on all matters of faith and practice. For the most part, orthodox evangelicals contend for these hermeneutical principles in every area of theology, with one exception, eschatology. When it comes to the end times, preachers use all kinds of poetic license to develop their pet theories. No longer do they adhere to the notion that the Bible interprets the Bible; and that context determines the exact meaning of words. With eschatology, they tend to speculate when the Bible is silent, and they diminish the clear meaning of God’s Word when it does not fit their narrative. With eschatology, all the rules are thrown out so they can change the meaning of words (just like cult leaders do) to support their aberrant end-time doctrines.

There is a massive multi-million dollar industry dedicated to the assumption that the great tribulation is equal to the wrath of God. These proponents of the pre-tribulation rapture make millions of dollars writing books and making movies assuring Christian they do not have to suffer persecution or tribulation for their faith prior to the rapture. But these massive, complicated and bulky theories are held up by the flimsiest of Scriptural speculation and wordplay. It is like trying to lift the weight of an elephant off the ground using a kite string. No matter how hard you try the weight will break that string. Defining the great tribulation as the wrath of God is the kite string that can’t support the theory. It is the lynchpin that connects the whole thing. Without it, the entire theory falls apart. The Left Behind doctrines are nothing more than giant sand castles, giving people the false hope of evacuation just prior to a tsunami of end-time persecution. So instead of soberly preparing people to face the tribulation to come, the American evangelical church is throwing parties in their fortresses made of sand. Instead of putting on the whole armour of God, the church is putting on its party hat. Instead of making solid disciples, the church is making spiritual revellers, drunk on the wine of end-time myths and fables. Once these notions are dispelled, the entire theory is washed away by the reality of Christ’s sobering predictions.

In Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, tribulation is defined by the Greek words thlibo and thipsis to primarily mean the distress of Christians as they are persecuted, afflicted and troubled by outward forces and circumstances. This definition is clearly taught by our Lord as He spoke to his disciples (the church) about the end-times,

“Therefore when you (the church) 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. Let him who is on the house-top not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

It is therefore evident by the context of Jesus Christ’s words that the great tribulation is defined as a time of horrible persecution of God’s elect, the church, who must flee from the wrath of Satan that comes by way of the Antichrist. The prophet Daniel said this period of time would last 3 ½ years and that “the power of the holy people (saints/elect) [would be] completely shattered.” (Daniel 12:7Therefore the elect must endure through the great tribulation. This is the plain and correct meaning of both texts. And as the Lord tells us in the Book of Revelation,

“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, where did they come from?’ 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 7:13,14)

To come out of something means you first have to be in something. These are Christians who were martyred in the great tribulation. Thus, the great tribulation is not God’s wrath on unbelievers, but Satan’s antichristian wrath upon authentic blood bought believers in Christ. The term “elect” means anyone who is in Christ at the time.

Apostle Paul tells us Christians are not “appointed to wrath” (1 Thessalonians. 5:9) and Revelation reveals God’s wrath is not poured out on this earth until the trumpet and bowl judgements in the last year of the 70th week of Daniel.

READ MORE HERE…