Yeshua (Jesus) said that the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached as a testimony to all the nations, and then the Kingdom will come. But He spoke that in the context of the end-time events, which include the Great Tribulation. He also told us not to be afraid when we see tribulation begin to happen. We need to trust the Lord’s Word concerning the end times and see them as an occasion for faith rather than for fear and division among believers.
All the issues Christians have about the Rapture and what happens before, during, and after the millennium are fine as points of Bible study. But that is different than turning them into jugular-bulging arguments between believers. The last thing we need today is more issues to be divided about. We need to believe for the oneness of the Body of Christ and for God to bring us into a oneness of faith. Whatever our disagreements about the end-times, they will be resolved by the Lord’s return. He is returning to take up His throne and rule the nations. That is what we all look forward to as believers.
There are those who believe they will be raptured and will not experience the Great Tribulation. I believe otherwise, but that is not a point of division. My concern is that we do not have a true scriptural understanding of what the Great Tribulation is about. First of all, Christians have experienced tribulation from the beginnings of the Church and are experiencing tribulation in the world today. Many Christians in the United States and countries where Christianity has a strong root have not known tribulation. That situation could change, and you cannot assume that you will be exempt from persecution.
Matthew 24 does not define the Great Tribulation as some new level of suffering beyond what the people of the world have suffered and continue to suffer. But there are things that make it great. It will be an event that everyone experiences as they see the great conclusion of this age and the dawning of His Kingdom. It will be the last tribulation before the Lord’s return. It will be the time when the gospel of the Kingdom goes to the ends of the earth. There are many things about the Great Tribulation we should rejoice in rather than fear. Let us have faith in the Lord’s covering and protection.
- Matthew 24:1-14. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
- Ephesians 6:12. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”
- James 1:2. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.”
- Matthew 24:21-22. “There will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world.”
- Matthew 22:35-40. “Which is the great commandment in the Law?”
- Matthew 24:29-31. “Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see.”
- Matthew 28:20. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
- John 17:15. “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”
- Acts 7:55-60. “I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
- Daniel 3:23-26. “I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm.”
- “We are not without God’s authority and protection during whatever days we go through in our walk with Him.”
- “The Lord ties this idea of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom to this time period. In other words, the preaching of the Kingdom will happen during these days of tribulation.”
- “You’ve got to take the Word of God before the Lord, your Creator, and you’ve got to pray these things through with Him. You’ve got to find faith in Him, and you’ve got to find a way to walk with Him during these times.”
- Interpretations about the end-time should not be a source of division for Christians. We all believe in Christ coming to the earth. We all believe that He lived here, that He suffered on the cross, that He was resurrected, and that He will return. These are things that are foundational to our faith and our salvation.
- We need to disarm this idea that tribulation is something new that suddenly explodes on the scene. The reality is that people have suffered all through the history of the Church. Right now there are people who are suffering and dying for their Christian faith. Because Christians in America and other countries are buffered from it for the time being does not mean they will not experience it.
- There are different ways to think about the Great Tribulation other than the greatness of suffering. It is the time when the greatest witness for Christ will be in the earth. It is the last tribulation before the Kingdom, the last time that we see innocent people suffering under the hand of the wicked. That is a great thing and something we should all rejoice in.