Gain More Perspective about the Great Tribulation-S13Ep11
The Jews of Jesus’ day expected that when the Messiah comes, God would begin a new age—His kingdom—first by resurrecting and judging all the dead, then giving the Holy Spirit to the righteous, and finally righting all the wrongs on planet Earth. The Messiah would reign as king over the whole earth from Jerusalem. They just didn’t know that God’s plan would be a two-stage process.
When the early Christians spoke of Jesus being raised from the dead, they were claiming that something happened to Jesus, which had never happened to anyone else—yet. The resurrection declared that what Jesus did in His life and in His death was the work of God’s son—the Messiah Because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, God could give His Spirit to faithful believers. If you want to understand that better, I suggest you listen to the Series 12 podcasts about the Gospel as God’s cure for our fatal sin disease.
What the Jews expected was their best guess. Jesus fulfilled the first part and promised to come back to finish the job and restore everything. Acts 3:20-21
Until the time comes for God to restore everything, there’s waiting involved. This UNTIL time is also called the “time of the Gentiles” in Scripture.
On earth, the Rapture of the believers is the signal that the time of God’s grace to the Gentiles ends. Judgment of all the nations happens during a period of 7 years called “The Great Tribulation.” Most of the book of Revelation covers this time period. But, we also see references to it in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. It sounds awful!
The day of the Lord hasn’t happened yet
Paul wrote so confidently in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 that the three signs declaring the day of the Lord was here had not happened yet. The restrainer of evil had not been removed. The man of lawlessness hadn’t been revealed. And, the religious rebellion hadn’t occurred. That is still true today. The day of the Lord hasn’t happened yet.
The Tribulation is a time when God takes His hands off and lets those who reject Him enjoy the fruit of their decision. He gives them over to the wickedness that they want to do. He allows sinful people to experience the sinful behaviors that they want to enjoy. Romans 1; 1 Timothy 4:1-2
The wickedness we see now will get much worse during the Tribulation, enhanced by the revealing of the man of lawlessness. He will be a counterfeit Christ who serves the lies that humans want to believe about not needing God. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Humans make the choice against God—to not believe the truth and to delight in wickedness. God doesn’t make that choice for them. But, for everyone who digs in their heels and refuses God, He declares them guilty of punishment. He lets them have what they want—life apart from Him and His goodness.
Yet, He continues to offer eternal life to anyone who repents of their sin and trusts in Him, even during the Great Tribulation. That’s God’s grace and mercy.
Truth for now
Here are some things we can know for sure:
What We Can Know for Sure: Jesus is coming back to gather His own, and not one believer is going to miss it. We just don’t know when He is returning.
What We Can Know for Sure: Jesus said conditions on this planet are not going to get better but worse! We can forget the whole idea of world peace until He comes back. Although believers are encouraged to individually live in peace with each other and with unbelievers, we humans can never bring about world peace. (Mark 13:7-8)
What We Can Know for Sure: Jesus described a great time of worldwide, massive tribulation. This Great Tribulation hasn’t happened yet. (Mark 13:14-23)
What We Can Know for Sure: Jesus is returning to planet Earth with His angels to defeat the evil forces against Him and set up His Kingdom in Jerusalem. (Revelation 19-20)
For now, watch out that no one deceives you.
To them and to all of us, Jesus says, “Stay alert.” In Mark chapter 13, Jesus warned His disciples 8 times to “watch out,” “be on guard,” and “stay alert.” A Christ-follower’s greatest danger is not war, not calamity, not suffering, not persecution, and not even betrayal. It is deception. Mark 13:5
Deception feeds apostasy—an aggressive and positive revolt against God by so-called religious people. Apostasy is driven by people who may even call themselves “Christian” but are influential fakers who draw people away from Christ, especially when they claim to no longer believe in Him. 2 Corinthians 11:3
We have a spiritual enemy, and deceiving us is one of his best means for making us ineffective at pursuing Christ completely.
Don’t let other people’s thoughts be a replacement for the Bible or your dependence on Christ. Compare what you are being told with what God’s Word says. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His perspective on life in the present and in the future. Then, live securely in Him during this time of waiting.