Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Christian's Tribulation

Can Christians be subject to tribulations? I am sure that we all have experienced the answer to that question, and would all answer with a resounding “Yes.”

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Acts 14:22
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

For our own good God does at times allow His children to go through tribulations, but never His wrath.

1 Thessalonians 1:10
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

The deliverance from His wrath to come will occur at the rapture, but up to that point we can experience tribulations. In regards to the end times when does God’s wrath start? The Bible clearly tells us that it starts at the sixth seal.

Rev 6:12,17
12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood…17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

So if God’s wrath starts after the sixth seal is opened, then the first 5 seals must be various tribulations and not part of God's wrath. The first 5 seals involve wars, famines, plagues, and persecutions, which Christians have lived through before. So does that mean that Christians will be subject to the tribulations of the first 5 seals? To help answer that question let’s look at a couple passages regarding the Day of the Lord.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (1 Thess. 4:15–5:2)

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (2 Thess. 2:1–2)

Both of these passages are talking about the rapture and call the event the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ. And from what I have researched most Christians will agree that the rapture happens at the Day of the Lord. Now let’s consider Acts 2:20

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

This verse clearly establishes the fact that the moon is turned to blood before the Day of the Lord. When is the moon turned to blood? At the sixth seal.

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; Rev 6:12

Therefore that leaves us with only one possible conclusion—since the rapture is part of the day of the Lord, and the Day of the Lord occurs after the moon is turned to blood at the sixth seal—then the rapture must occur after the sixth seal is opened.

In summary;

The rapture occurs during the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord occurs after the moon is turned to blood.

The moon is turned to blood after the sixth seal is opened.

Therefore the rapture occurs after the sixth seal is opened.

Scripture confirms this scenario in the verses following Rev 6:12;

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens 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 that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Rev 6:15-17

What does scripture say causes men to hide? It says they are trying to hide from the face of Him that sits on the throne—Jesus—and they are scared to death. When does Jesus appear for the world to see? Jesus appears at the rapture. The scripture also says that this is when God’s wrath starts, and this is the only thing that Christians are promised that we will not be subject to—God’s wrath. Christians can be subject to tribulations, but not the wrath of God. After the sixth seal is opened is when God’s wrath starts and that is why and when we are removed at that time.

Therefore since the rapture occurs after the 6th seal is opened Christians can be subject to the tribulations of the first 5 seals.

Brothers and sisters do not let fear arise in your hearts regarding these truths. Remember the truth will set you free. Let these truths help motivate us to draw ever closer to God—to love the Lord with all our heart mind and soul. It should also motivate us to pray for our country and leaders and to pray for God’s power and guidance to prepare spiritually, mentally, and physically to meet the challenges that lie ahead. It should also motivate us to present ourselves to God to be used by Him to accomplish great things for Him in accordance with His will.

Some Christians want to "bury their heads in the sand" and ignore what is going on around them and the prospect of future tribulations and just "focus on God." It is great to focus on God, but if there is one thing that I have learned in my 30 plus years as a Christian is that you need BALANCE. Witness--yes, study the Word--yes, pray--yes, watch prophecy developments--yes, prepare for the future--yes, trust God--yes. And all must be done in proper priority; 1. Your relationship with God, 2. Responsibilities, 3. Ministry, and 4. Time for you.

So many Christians are asleep to essential end times truths and the times in which we live. Please wake up dear Christian brother and sister--lest you be caught unawares. Or would you rather "go to sleep" and wake up when the really bad times hit and then be thrown into a panic?

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thes 5:4-6

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21:36

R.A. Coombes has written a short article entitled Wake UP Christian that has some very timely insights regarding the parable of the 10 virgins and Christians who are asleep to the times in which we live. Here is a snippet, I recommend reading the entire article;

Is it just me or have the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Churches in America gone to sleep concerning Bible Prophecy and current developments? Perhaps its just my local area that seems to be napping instead of being on “watch” for the Lord’s return for His Bride...

What we can conclude for a study of this parable and from the previous chapter and His commands – is that Christ intends for ALL Believers to:

Know and Understand God’s prophecies (Bible Prophecies) yet to be fulfilled. And with that knowledge and understanding we are to always be aware, watchful, alert and attentive to what is going on in the world around us, in relation to these future prophecies.

We are NOT to be ignorant or to ignore these scriptural prophecies, despite the teachings of some “popular” Evangelical leaders in the “emerging church” and “purpose-driven” church movements a.k.a. as the “mega-churches” in America.

With this understanding of the Parable of the Virgins and their deep sleep and slumber, don’t you find it amazing that, at least in American Churches, the vast majority of church pastors and congregations (including Evangelicals and Fundamentalists) are fast asleep in regards to Bible Prophecy and the news developments we are now witnessing around the world and especially in Middle East politics.

Read The Coming Epiphany today for FREE!

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