Is there a Way to face the Great Tribulation?

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With so much that we agree on, Christians who hold different views on this subject should avoid breaking fellowship and denouncing each other. Personally I accept view one (pre-tribulation rapture) although I note that some of the arguments for a post tribulation rapture do make sense.  A few points I made in my previous talk on this subject.

 If the rapture comes first, we should:

  • Be ready at any time to meet the Lord
  • Get right with God now: repent, believe
  • Be separate from this present evil age: commit to the Lord
  • Get the Gospel out there
  • Warn others of the coming time of tribulation and judgement
  • Look for and prepare for ‘blessed hope’ of the church

If the tribulation comes first we should:

  • Get right with God now: repent, believe
  • Be separate from this present evil age: commit to the Lord
  • Get the Gospel out
  • Warn others of the coming time of tribulation and judgement
  • Prepare for a time of unique trouble: true Christians will go underground. Many will be martyred
  • Look for and prepare for the return of the Lord

If the rapture does happen unexpectedly and people remain on the earth after it has happened, this would cause a tremendous amount of questioning, which would presumably lead many to look into the Bible and discover what had happened.

It is likely that these would then become believers and tell others what had happened with the result that there would be a large remnant of people who would turn to Jesus Christ.

Revelation 7 speaks of 144000 Jews / like apostle Paul who will preach the Gospel with power.

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:

of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honour and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

14 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. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7

This means that there will be a great multitude of Gentiles who come out of the Great Tribulation and put their faith in Jesus. It is not impossible therefore to see a large movement of people coming to faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord after the church has been removed, as in Revelation 7. These would be the ones the Antichrist persecutes in Revelation 13.

15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Revelation 13.15

Meanwhile, we should live as though Christ could come at any time and or that we will go to be with Him in death, which could also come at any time.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Matthew 25.1-13

Therefore we should separate ourselves from the evil influences of this age. We should also use the time that remains to get the message of the Gospel out so that as many people as possible can find salvation in Jesus Christ.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Matthew 5.13

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Luke 24.44-48

At the same time, we recognise that since the event has not yet happened we cannot be totally sure about the details of how and when it happens. 

And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1.7-8

So, we should also accept that we may be called to suffer and die for our faith in the tribulation time. We should also remember that whatever our view on this subject, all unbelievers who survive until this time will go through the tribulation and so we should be warning them to ‘flee the wrath to come’ by believing in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”

11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”

12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”

13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”

14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”

So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”

15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Luke 3.7-17

We should not divide over this issue, remembering that whatever our view of the timing of the rapture, we agree that there is one way of salvation through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So let us all be ready for His return and redeem the time that remains.

My righteousness is near,
My salvation has gone forth,
And My arms will judge the peoples;
The coastlands will wait upon Me,
And on My arm they will trust.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished.

“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
You people in whose heart is My law:
Do not fear the reproach of men,
Nor be afraid of their insults.

Isaiah 51.5-7

Finally, we should not ignore the subject. When he introduced the subject in 1 Thessalonians 4.13 Paul wrote:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4.13

We have a great number of ignorant brethren who know little or nothing about this subject, which is a great shame, because it is there in a number of passages in the Word of God. So, don’t be taken by surprise, but listen to Jesus’ word:

44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24.44

13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Matthew 25.13

28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Luke 21.28

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:

“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

Revelation 11.15-18

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