The Last Days- Part II
Matthew 24: 15,21… When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place… then shall be great tribulation…
The Lord Jesus was very candid with His disciples of a very difficult truth. To them and to us He said, “In the world you shall have tribulation…” (John 16:33). His Apostle Paul also said, “… all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
History through the ages and into this present day documents the level and severity of tribulation and satanic persecution that the people of GOD have experienced and are experiencing… with greater intensity. Tribulation for the believer is a certainty, the changing variable is the degree of suffering. Besides the link on the right panel to Voice of the Martyrs, get yourself a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and please let it break your heart over what has been suffered by the Body of Christ through the many centuries.
The word tribulation is from the Greek word thlipsis which means “pressure, compression, distress of mind in difficult circumstances, trial, and affliction”. Whether as a noun or verb (thlibo) the definitions show plainly that tribulation does not mean wrath! In the KJV eight different words are used to translate these Greek words in 55 separate occurrences. They are: tribulation, affliction, persecution, trouble, anguish, burden, throng, and narrow… with the words tribulation appearing 22 times, and affliction 21 times.
Examples of Tribulation in the New Testament
Matthew 13:20,21… But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
What is clear from the Lord’s plain teaching is tribulation arises and has its source in those who are enemies of GOD’s Word.
Matthew 24:21… 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. See also Mark 13:19.
The Lord Jesus taught that believers are to expect tribulation as a normal occurrence in this present evil world. In fact, we all know that the more we stand for the truths of the Holy Bible, and honor the Savior of all mankind- the more animosity, affliction, and persecution we will encounter at the hands of wicked men.
John 15:18-21… If the word hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you… If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you… But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
In Acts 11:19 the dear and glorious physician Luke wrote “Now those who were scattered abroad after the persecution [thlipsis] that arose about Stephen traveled as far as…” The persecution of the saints came from those who murdered Stephen and hated the preaching of GOD’s Word. And again Luke describing the stoning of Paul in Acts 14:19-22 said in vv21 &22… And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra… strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the Kingdom of GOD.”
Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5… but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of GOD has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Matthew 5:10-12… Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
2 Corinthians 4:17… For the light affliction [thlipsis] is but for a moment, and works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…
These passages teach clearly the sober and glorious truth that believers who endure tribulation will enjoy a better resurrection! (… having received the word in much affliction… 1 Thessalonians 1:6). There are many other passages that bring similar illumination regarding the subject of tribulation. Please see Revelation 1:9,10; Revelation 2:9,10. But in Revelation 2:22 we see that a person can escape what in this particular verse constitutes great affliction from GOD because of sin- by sincere repentance. The context will always determine what the subject-verb-object of the specific grammar connotes. As stated, it is established by the Scriptures that tribulation of the saints of GOD come from the Devil, the Antichrist, and wicked men who hate Christ, His Word, and His people.
Is Tribulation equivalent to the Wrath of GOD?
It is clear from the above verses and what the entire Holy Bible reveals that the source of tribulation is the wrath of satan, his seed in the world, and the corrupt world system. Therefore, tribulation for the saints is not equivalent to the divine Wrath of GOD upon the wicked. There are two greek words translated wrath in the Scriptures: thumos & orge.
Thumos means “a violent swelling and outburst of anger; strong passion or emotion of mind.” This specific word representing GOD’s wrath is used nine out of eighteen occurrences in the New Testament, all nine are in the Revelation, in which the divine wrath is poured out upon the wicked in the Day of the Lord.
Orge means “the settled state of wrath, impulse of anger, indignation, vengeance, and punishment.” Neither thumos nor orge is ever used to refer to tribulation experienced by the saints. Therefore (tribulation) thlipsis is not synonymous with (wrath) thumos and orge.
1 Thessalonians 5:9… GOD has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a wide gulf between the tribulation which the saints will experience during the Great Tribulation, and the Wrath of the Lamb that will be poured out upon the wicked in the Day of the Lord. In my last post The Day of Christ… The Day of the Lord it has been demonstrated by biblical confirmation that the Day of the Lord cannot begin until after the sun and moon are darkened, immediately after the Great Tribulation, and therefore it cannot be equivalent to the tribulation which will be experienced by the saints during the Great Tribulation.
Touching the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27 w/Matthew 25:15;21) we see that it will begin with the confirming of the covenant of Antichrist with many. This will allow the re-instituting of the Jewish sacrificial system and the building of the third temple. “The Tribulation” or the 70th week of Daniel will be divided into two equal parts (3.5 years, 42 months, 1260 days) by the abomination that makes desolate (the Antichrist enters the Temple and declares himself as GOD). This event will occur in the middle of the week, and it will be the demarcation point of the Great Tribulation. The end of the 70th week will be marked by the darkening of the sun and moon immediately after the Great Tribulation coincident with the opening of the sixth seal (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12,13) as has been clearly developed in the current and last post on this site. The Rapture should occur at the opening of the sixth seal, immediately followed by the commencement of the Day of the Lord.
This also reconciles the length of time of the Great Tribulation as it will last exactly 3 1/2 years. Speaking of the Antichrist as the ‘little horn’ (Daniel 7:8) in Daniel 7:25… And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High… and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. A ‘time’ is equal to a year and therefore this confirms the account in the Revelation of 42 months, 1260 days, and 3.5 years… equivalent ‘accounting’.
The sad fact in my understanding is that the Bible teaches that the saints will suffer tribulation during the Great Tribulation, as well as the Jews- and all who will not hold allegiance to the Antichrist in his rampage of worldwide control. My contention is that the pretribulation rapture theology is a profound deception that is not based upon the clear and comprehensive analysis of all the Old and New Testament Scriptures that deal with the Day of Christ and the Day of the Lord… and the clear distinction that I have presented in these two consecutive posts. According to the following verses in the book of the Revelation, our comfort must rest in the Holy Spirit’s continuing Presence with us in our extended travail and testing of allegiance to our risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:11… And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Revelation 6:9-11… When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of GOD and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice saying, “How long O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Revelation 20:4… And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of GOD, who had not worshiped the Beast and his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands, And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Islam and their Mahdi (Messiah according to their Qu’ran) are the only people in the present age that behead their adversaries… who shall be many in these Last Days.
A true ‘Berean’ student (Acts 17:10, 11) will ‘…test all things, hold to that which is true…’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21). To that end, all four parts of ‘The Last Days’ series MUST be studied with your Holy Bible in hand in order to ‘… rightly divide the word of truth…’ (2 Timothy 2:15). For convenience all 4 essays are linked here:
- The Day of Christ… and The Day of the LORD ‘Does the Holy Scriptures reveal a distinct and exclusive difference between the two?’
- The Tribulation… The Great Tribulation ‘Does not the Hebrew as well as the Greek original texts of the Old and New Testament specifically and exactly make a distinction between ‘Tribulation’ and ‘The Wrath of GOD’?
- His Glorious Appearing ‘What is ‘the sign’ of the LORD’s coming that is given by Jesus Christ Himself both in Matthew 24, the Book of Joel, and the Book of the Revelation?’
- The Great Day of GOD’s Wrath ‘When does the Whole Counsel of GOD reveal in numerous places in Scripture, does the actual Wrath of GOD commence, and to what extent does the Bible reach to make this terrible period of Judgment upon the whole earth clear to all who prayerfully study His Holy Word?’
For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”
In Christ Alone