Skip to comments.The Tribulation's Purpose vs. The Church's Nature (Dispensational Caucus)
Posted on 10/15/2012 5:14:49 AM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta
Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matt. 25:13)
Those who shy away from the study of prophecy are fond of quoting the above verse as their justification. But earlier in the same passage, the Lord had admonished all who read His words of prophecy to understand them (Matt 24:15). In addition the Apostle Paul wrote that the events leading up to the end of the age should not take believers by surprise (1 Thes. 5:4) implying that we should be familiar with them.
Since the Bible cannot contradict itself, Matt. 24:15 must have been aimed at a different audience than Matt. 25:13. And sure enough, a closer look reveals that both the implied timing and the intended audience of the two Matthew passages are different. Matt. 24:15 was intended for everyone who would ever read the passage, but in Matt 25:13 the Lord was only speaking to people remaining on Earth at His Second Coming. We know this because it follows Matt. 24:30 which describes the 2nd Coming. Matt. 24:36-37 confirms the context to be the 2nd Coming, as does Matt. 25:1. Of course in 1 Thes 5:4 Paul was addressing the church, who will not be on Earth at the 2nd Coming, but in the presence of the Father (1 Thes. 3:13).
What both the Lord (Matt.24:15) and Paul (1 Thes. 5:4) were saying is that while we wont know the exact timing of things, we should understand the sequence of events leading up to the Day of the Lord. And perhaps no event in the sequence is more controversial than the Rapture of the Church, especially as it relates to the Great Tribulation.
It seems to me that the first thing we should do in trying to obey the Lords commandment to understand all this is to clarify two things, 1) the purpose of the Great Tribulation, 2) the nature of the Church.
The Purpose of the Great Tribulation
The phrase Great Tribulation makes reference to a specific event, not a general condition. While the Lord warned the disciples that they and we would experience tribulation as a general condition in this world (John 16:33), He clearly identified the Great Tribulation as having a specific beginning and ending. It will begin when the abomination that causes desolation prophesied by Daniel is erected in the Temple (in the middle of the last 7 years of history) and will end just prior to the Lords return, three and one half years later (Daniel 9:24-27 & Matt. 24:29-30).
The Great Tribulation is primarily Jewish in its focus. In fact, it was referred to as the Time of Jacobs Trouble until the Lord coined the phrase Great Tribulation in Matt 24:21. In doing so , He said it would be a time of unparalleled distress, unique in the history of the world.
Jeremiah 30:3-11 gives us the clearest definition of its overall purpose. Lets read it.
The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess, says the LORD.
These are the words the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: This is what the LORD says: Cries of fear are heardterror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale?"
"How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it."
In that day, declares the LORD Almighty, I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them."
So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel, declares the LORD. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid."
"I am with you and will save you,declares the LORD. Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished."
In this passage the event is foretold, its purpose explained, and the timing is made clear. Lets take the timing first. According to verse 3 it will take place after Israel and Judah are re-gathered in the land as one nation, and verse 9 says it will result in David becoming their King again.
There have been two re-gatherings since the passage was written, but the first, beginning in 535 BC, didnt result in David becoming Israels King. (In fact, from about 600 BC to this day they have had no legitimate king at all.)
The second re-gathering began in 1948 AD and continues to this day. Though the population of Israel keeps growing, so do the Jewish populations of all the nations to which the Jews have been scattered, and there are still about as many Jews outside Israel than there are in the land. All that will soon change as the Lord calls all His people to return to their Promised Land following His victory in the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39. The second re-gathering is the one that will lead to the fulfillment of Jeremiah 30:3-11. Isaiah foretold that the second re-gathering would put an end to the contention between Israel and Judah (Isaiah 11:11-13), and Ezekiel 37:15-25 confirms that sometime after this reunion David will be their King.
Now for its purpose. Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished. (Jere. 30:11)
The idea is that Israel has to be purified in preparation for the Kingdom Age God promised them, and the nations who rejected the Messiah and persecuted His people must be destroyed.
So the purpose of the Great Tribulation is twofold; discipline (purify) the people of Israel, and completely destroy the nations to which they had been scattered.
The Nature of the Church
According to Pauls Letter to the Ephesians, the church is nothing less than a new race of mankind, coming from among both Jews and Gentiles but sharing a destiny with neither. (Ephe. 2:15-16)
The problem had always been that God could never dwell for long in the midst of His creation. Our sins always eventually drove Him away. At the cross, He reconciled all things to himself, things in heaven and on earth (Col 1:19-20). This meant that He was now at peace with His creation for the first time since the Fall of Man. He accomplished this by paying the price for all the sins of mankind. Now, for anyone who would accept it, a full pardon for behavior past, present and future was available, free for the asking.
Accepting this pardon qualifies any person, young or old, Jew or Gentile, good or bad, to become a new creation. When we do it permits God to look upon us as if we are without sin altogether; and in fact as if we had never sinned to begin with. It also requires the division of mankind into three groups: Jew, Gentile and Church (1 Cor. 10:32). No longer being either Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:26-28) means Gods purpose is not served by having us present in the Great Tribulation.
Its critical that we understand Gods perspective in this because its substantially different from ours. To Him, the church is without sin, holy and blameless, and has been since the cross (Ephes. 5:25-27). Whatever sins we as individuals have committed (or will commit) have been forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14) and its as if they never happened (2 Cor 5:17). At the cross, the church became as righteous as God Himself (2 Cor 5:21), having been made perfect forever (Hebr. 10:12-14). Because of the cross God has a people with whom He can live in peace. No further purification is necessary.
Whats The Point?
Therefore, no purpose is served by having the Church endure the Great Tribulation. Remember, the Church is a body spanning 40 generations of human life. If we were not all made perfect at the cross, how could the suffering of the final generation of believers serve to purify all those who have preceded us? All the generations of the Church have died in hope of spending eternity with the Lord as the Bible promises us. Is it only ours who will receive this promise and then only after sharing in Israels purification? Of course not.
In Israels case its a different matter. The past generations who rejected their Messiah are lost. The last generations purification through the Great Tribulation wont save those who have gone before. Its intended to finally open their eyes and hearts to Jesus so that a remnant of Gods chosen people can be preserved. (Zech. 12:10-13)
And as weve seen, during the Great Tribulation Gods focus will be on Israel and His focus is always either Israel or the Church, never both at once. (This was explained by James in Acts 15:12-18 and by Paul in Romans 11:25-27.) If you take the view, as I do, that the Battle of Ezekiel 38 occurs before the Great Tribulation, and realize that one outcome of that battle is to turn Israel back to God, (Ezek. 39:28-29) then you know the churchs days on Earth have to end at the same time. This is what makes the fact that Israel exists again an important sign that the end is near.
Of course the Scriptures promise that the Church wont be present on Earth for the Great Tribulation and weve covered these promises in detail in other studies on the Rapture. My intent in this study is not to review them but rather to demonstrate that the two-fold purpose of the Great Tribulation is to discipline Israel and completely destroy the unbelieving nations, and to show that the Church has no part in either. Therefore our presence on Earth during that period would serve no purpose and in fact would be in direct opposition to our nature as God sees us.
Its also in direct opposition to His nature as revealed in the Bible. The basis of Abrahams negotiation with God concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was that God could not destroy the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:23-25). And Peter revealed how history teaches us that God knows how to rescue godly men from trial while holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment (1 Peter 2:4-9). As John did in Rev. 3:10, Peter used the Greek preposition ek in the phrase translated from (out of) trial. It means to keep something out of the time, place, or cause of an event. By using that preposition Peter and John were confirming that God knows how to remove us from the time, place, and cause of the coming judgment before unleashing it upon the world. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 5:9). You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 10-13-12
Many good points made here, the first being the most important because is is the Gospel of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: we, the church, have been washed from ALL of our sins by the blood of Jesus and stand righteous before God, not by our own good works or righteousness but by His good work and righteous. Therefore, my righteousness is a gift from God (Romans 5:17). There's nothing more for me to do. I AM FREE! IT IS FINISHED!
Another point made here is also the theme of II Thessalonians: to COMFORT the church - they need not be afraid of the coming Day of Wrath. It's kind of funny to me in a way how some Christians almost seem to want to go through the seven-year Tribulation.
You know, there's two parts to this tribulation period. In Matthew 24, Jesus called the first part "the beginning of sorrows" and the last part "the end...great tribulation." What's funny is some Christians think that they'll be able to get through the first part ("not the great tribulation yet"). According to Revelation 6:8 and 9:15, HALF of the whole world is DEAD by the end of the first 3 1/2 years (the beginning of sorrows). And except for the remnant of Israel hiding in the mountains (probably Petra in Jordan) the rest of the world is dead by the end of the seven years. As the author indicates, this is not redemptive work, this is God's judgment.
The miraculous salvation and protection of (part of) Israel during "Jacob's trouble" is another fascinating theme.
While through the New Covenant the churches have seen tribulation of various levels, the constituents (regenerated believer-disciples of The Anointed One) of His Body will not see corruption, will be withdrawn when the Holy Ghost, He that restrainedth, is taken out of the way prior to the final tribulation. The mature spiritual man knows this. The ones gaining maturity may not appreciate it fully, but should be instructed in the doctrine from the beginning of their overall life of discipleship. In the doctrine of the last things, this great and awful judgment will not be wreaked by The God on His own spiritual children. Praise God for his benefits! Just agreeing --
Define the “Great Tribulation”. Do you consider it to be just the 7 bowls of wrath, or does start earlier?
The last three and a half years are the worst, but the Scriptures indicate that the time of God's judgment on this earth is seven years.
BTW, another good passage that explains six reasons in Israel and the world for the pre-crucifixion diaspora as well as the tribulation is found in Daniel 9:24:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,
to finish the transgression,
and to make an end of sins,
and to make reconciliation for iniquity,
and to bring in everlasting righteousness,
and to seal up the vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most Holy.
God promised Israel these six things, and He will keep that promise and accomplish all of them during the Tribulation.
This verse lays it out clearly.
People ask: Where is America in End Times ? shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
This verse lays it out clearly.
Another wonder of the Gospel of God's Grace is that although many Christians hold on to some form of their own righteousness, not knowing or accepting their total freedom from the law, their death to sin, and the free gift of righteousness, they are righteous anyway (their faith in Christ the Savior saves them regardless) and will go up with us to meet the Lord in the air.
I think not only is the battle of Ezekiel 38 & 39 before the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years) but may very well be the kickoff to the whole seven-year enchilada so to speak. After studying Ezekiel 38 & 39 and Revelation, I believe that sometime around the time of this battle is when the rapture of the church takes place and the tribulation begins.
Ezekiel 39:9 indicates a seven-year period after the war and 39:22 says, So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward. This seems to map with Revelation Chapter Seven (part of the sixth seal) when 144,000 of Israel are "sealed" (saved) after the rapture of the church (Rev 4:1) and after "the fourth part of the earth" is killed (Rev 6:8). (I never thought of this until now, but maybe the battle of Ezekiel 38 & 39 is included in the fourth seal when 1/4 of the world is slaughtered - interesting thought.)
LOL!! You nailed it, Uri’el!
I believe that it is very possible that it will be the Ezekiel 38/39 war that causes the world to be in the right condition to go along with the seven-year "peace" covenant that ushers in the Antichrist. And, I also believe that the rebuilding of the Temple will be part of that "covenant with death", as God calls it, and that is what will cause Israel to agree to the treaty.
I've told this story before, but it's quite relevant to the ramifications of this covenant that will be orchestrated by the Antichrist.
A well-known pastor, who travels to Israel frequently, had gone there a little while ago and was talking to some of the military and he asked them how they would recognize their Messiah when he came. Their response was that he would help them rebuild their temple.
It all fits together perfectly, and everything is falling into place so fast it's impossible to keep up with it.
I know that the elements and even the "perfect" red heifers for the temple sacrifice are being assembled in Israel. I know Jesus could come at any time, but He's promised me stuff in the next thirty to forty years that makes me think God may spare America (and, therefore, the world (when America goes the world will quickly plunge, IMO)) for a short "season" while He gathers the last of the guests to His wedding banquet before it all comes down. Hallelujah!
If it begins at the first seal, then why do the souls under the alter (fifth seal) ask, "how long"? Wouldn't they know?
If you disagree with the Scripture then you shouldn't be on a dispensational caucus thread and you need to take your disagreement with Jesus up with Him.
There is no such thing as a seven year tribulation! It does not exist.
RE: Daniel's 70th week from Daniel 9:27
But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
The week is a seven year time period. The patterns were set down in the Torah in the form of shemita cycles.
Leviticus 25:4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.
Two witnesses, every matter must be established by at least two witnesses.
John 8:17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.
Now two witnesses from Revelation
Revelation 1:19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. (Yeshua)
Revelation 4:4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.
After Jochanan's (Johns) vision, after the crucifixion, after the resurrection and after the ascension!
Notice there are no references to a seven year time period in Revelation, you'll find time, times and half a time, three and a half days (years actually) and 42 months, all equal three and a half years. So what happened to the other half?
Back to Daniel...
Daniel 9:7 He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.
In the middle of the 'seven' He (Yeshua) will put an end to sacrifice and offering. (It is finished John 19:30).
Now for some fun, that is determining the 'middle of this week'.
This current year on the Hebrew calendar is 5773. The next shemita year is 5775. How do you determine a shemita year? Multiply (or divide) by seven. 7 x 825 = 5775. Now get yourself a Hebrew calendar.
The Hebrew year begins on Rosh Hashanah (1 Tishri) so to go to the middle of a week (shemita cycle) count three and a half years and come to Pesach, 15 Nisan (Passover) to arrive at the middle of a week.
Lets start off with the year of the crucifixion, 3790 (30 C.E.).
15 Nisan 3790 is the middle of a/the week here.
3787 is a shemita year, 541 x 7 = 3787, that's 1 Tishri. Add three and a half Hebrew years and you arrive at 15 Nisan 3790. Here's more evidence for you.
Why Didnt the Red Ribbon on the Head of the Scapegoat Turn White in 30 C.E.?
I was wondering about a story that a Hebrew-Christian told me recently. He said that there was a scarlet cloth which would turn white every year when the high priest atoned for the sins of the people. When Jesus died, around 30 A.D., the cloth would no longer turn white when the priest atoned for sins because Jesus was the final atonement. Ive read this story in other sources, and I wondered what you have to say about it.
This assertion with which you were confronted has, in the last decade, attracted wide interest in the evangelical world. In fact, I am somewhat surprised that it has taken this long for one of our website visitors to write in with this question.
Despite the popularity this issue has gained in the Christian world in recent years, this contention stands out as one of the most bizarre arguments used by Christian apologists.
What makes this line of reasoning so strange is that it seeks to use the Talmud to prove that Jesus is the messiah. While most are simply surprised to learn that missionaries would depend on the Talmud in order to prove the validity of the Christian religion, in reality, this misuse of rabbinic literature is widespread...
Anyway here's the meat of this article.
Nevertheless, it is essential that we examine this well-worn argument with which you were confronted. In Tractate Yoma 39b, the Talmud quotes a Baraisa1 that discusses numerous remarkable phenomena that occurred in the Temple during the Yom Kippur service. More specifically, the Talmud states that there was a strip of scarlet-dyed wool tied to the head of the scapegoat2 which at times would turn white in the presence of the large crowd gathered at the Temple on the Day of Atonement. When this phenomenon occurred, the Jewish people perceived this miraculous transformation as a heavenly sign that their sins were forgiven. The Talmud relates, however, that 40 years before the destruction of the Second Temple the scarlet colored strip of wool did not turn white. The text of the Talmud which missionaries quote states,
The Rabbis taught that forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple the lot did not come up in the [high priests] right hand nor did the tongue of scarlet wool become white... (Talmud, Tractate Yoma 39b).
Citing the above statement, missionaries contend that the year the scarlet ribbon ceased to turn white coincides with the time that Jesus was crucified. After all, they argue, 40 years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple corresponds to the year 30 C.E,3 which is approximately the time of Jesus crucifixion. They conclude, therefore, that the cessation of the whitening of the scarlet ribbon clearly indicates that God was no longer accepting animal sacrifices, and the Jewish people, therefore, needed to turn to Jesus as their only avenue for atonement. Ultimately, this argument asserts that the reason why the scarlet strip of wool did not turn white in the year 30 C.E. was due to the fact that the sins of the Jews were not forgiven because they did not accept Jesus as their messiah...
Or you could just go to The Encyclopedia Judaica to see the reference Jesus died 30 C.E. Your main library should have a copy.
Now, this makes finding the identity of the ruler (anti-Christ) that much easier.
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