Tuesday, 30 September 2014

SAVED FROM WRATH EQUALS SAVED FROM TRIBULATION?

Is being saved from God’s wrath synonymous with being saved from the Great Tribulation?

One of the arguments advanced by those who hold the pre-tribulation view of rapture is that God will not allow his chosen ones to suffer: “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). In short, they say believers will be spared from going through the Great Tribulation.

                                                                      
But they fail to differentiate God’s wrath (judgment) from the Great Tribulation.

This failure to distinguish God’s wrath (judgment) from the Great Tribulation is the cause of much confusion.

Let us now look at the timeline of the end times based on Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. For sake of clarity, the parts in red in the following passages refer to the great cosmic blackout.

Total blackout occurs because the sun and moon will not give its light; also the stars will fall from heaven.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17).

If one were to draw the end time timeline based on the above two passages, it would be:

  • Great Tribulation


  • Cosmic Blackout


  • Wrath of God (judgment)


So the next time, if someone quotes 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”, you can share with him that freedom from God’s wrath does not necessarily mean believers will be spared from having to endure the Great Tribulation.

While God preserves believers from His wrath (judgment), it does not necessarily mean believers will be spared from having to endure the Great Tribulation, which is a completely different end time event.

                                                                                                                                              
The Great Tribulation happens before the cosmic blackout whereas wrath of God (judgment) happens after the cosmic blackout.

Christians will have to go through tribulation, in general, and the Great Tribulation—the mother of all tribulations. For more: http://bit.ly/1mFzp9T

                                                                        


The fact that believers will have to experience tribulation is totally consistent with the teachings of the New Testament.

  • Paul exhorts the disciples to continue in the faith, saying that “we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).


  • Paul writes that we “glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3).


  • “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).


  • “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Luke 21: 12, 17).


During the end times, both the righteous and wicked will suffer. But they suffer at different times and come under different wraths.

When do the righteous suffer? During the Great Tribulation. They suffer under the wrath of the Antichrist (Matthew 24: 15-28).

When do the wicked suffer? On the Day of the Lord when the wrath of God (judgment) is unleashed (Revelation chapters 8, 9.11, Matthew 13:40-42).

Just as God waited for Noah and his family to enter the ark before He sent the flood, God will bring His chosen ones to safety before He unleashes His wrath (judgment).

How does He accomplish it? Jesus will come again and gather the elect during the rapture before He brings judgment on those who are evil. In other words, there will be a separation. Jesus’ return in the clouds of heaven ushers in a day of reckoning—salvation of His people and judgment of the wicked.

The purpose of the rapture, therefore, is to pull believers out to safety before God rains down judgment on earth.

Throughout church history—more so during the Great Tribulation—the cry of the martyrs ring loud and clear, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” But they were told to “rest a little while longer” (Revelation 6:9-11).

The persecution and oppression of believers will come to an end when Christ returns and they are caught up in the air to be with Him (raptured). “Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:27-28). What a blessed hope!

However, the fate of the wicked will be just the opposite when Christ returns.  All of them will hide in the caves and rocks of the mountains, and say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6: 15-17). The door is shut. The die is cast. The opportunity to repent is over. How irrevocably sad!

RELATED POSTS

RAPTURE BEFORE TRIBULATION?
Will believers be raptured before the Great Tribulation?
Re-examining first-hand the relevant rapture passages.

FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
"I am afraid too many today are being lulled into thinking that when things get really bad, we as believers will be suddenly snatched out of it all ("the great snatch," the rapture is sometimes called). This is indeed poor preparation for what is yet to happen—and a serious misreading of the prophetic message."

CORRIE TEN BOOM ON RAPTURE AND TRIBULATION
In China, the Christians were told, “Don't worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated — raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes—to stand and not faint.”




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