Reconciliation Outreach

Paul and Nuala O'Higgins Teaching Ministry

What About the Tribulation

Jesus warned us that we, His followers, would have tribulation and difficulties in this world, But we should fear not as He has overcome the world. Christians in this present age are in a unique position. We are directly related to the throne of God and therefore in His care. We are no longer under the curse and therefore we are blessed. Nevertheless we live in a fallen world and a dangerous environment. This causes pressure and tribulation, injustice and persecution. We are not immune from persecution but God makes persecution work for our good and can supply our every need even in times of persecution. We should not be afraid of persecution or tribulation because God redeems it and makes it work for our good. Instead we should rejoice in it. “In the world you will have tribulation. Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

When the Lord returns there will be no more tribulation…. but not until then. Because much persecution has come through the political realm, Christians often try to control the political order for their own survival and protection. These efforts can be commendable, and some may be called to this arena. However, no matter how great the Christian influence in society we will be unable to avoid tribulation, persecution and injustice until the Lord returns. The tribulations that believers experience do not destroy us but only work for our good as they conform us more to the image and likeness of Jesus.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good. …. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:28; 37-39)

When we become too preoccupied with the political order and with self-preservation we lose sight of the throne of God from where our life, provision and protection comes.

SEVEN-YEAR TRIBULATION?

The idea of a SEVEN-YEAR TRIBULATION comes from erroneous teaching that the final seven years of Daniel’s 490-year prophecy have not already been fulfilled and will be fulfilled when a vicious dictator takes over the world just before the Lord returns. (See Appendix 1) It is speculated that he will seem to be a good dictator for the first part of the seven years of his reign but that the last three-and-a-half years of his reign will be vicious.

To preserve the believers from these last vicious days many Bible teachers speculate and falsely teach (because of wrong interpretation of scripture) that the Lord will return before these events to rapture the church.

The time of tribulation that Jesus spoke about is neither a seven-year period nor a three-and-a-half year period but is the entire era of Christian history. THE GREAT TRIBULATION is the whole time between Jesus’ Ascension and Return. We are in The Great Tribulation right now in the earth. When we read church history we can see that the last 2000 years have been years of tribulation. When we read today’s newspapers you will see that we still live in a world of great tribulation. We recommend “The Voice Of The Martyrs’ Magazine and web site to those who have doubts that we are in tribulation today. (http://www.persecution.com) The church has been in tribulation since the beginning and will be until the end because no matter how great the influence and favor we have, we are not of this world.

The idea of being ‘raptured’ away from the end-time tribulations is almost unknown in the places where the church is being perecuted today. The idea of escape of tribulation has programmed many in the western church to believe that they can avoid persecution and trouble in this life on earth. The New Testament teaches

That in the world you will have tribulation, but we are not to fear as He has overcome world. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
That we are to overcome as He overcame. (Rev. 3:21)
that the present world order is not our home and that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” (James 4:4)

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:33)

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

“Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

No matter how difficult life may be in the world God will never “leave nor forsake us” and we always need to have our eyes fixed on Him.

“ Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,” The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebr. 13:5-6)

“I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

A concept that ignores the reality of tribulation (even as we live in the blessings of God’s kingdom) has resulted in a mind-set that makes us compromise with the world. It has resulted in much worldliness among Christians.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (I John 3:2-3)

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (I John 3:2-3)

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