THE GREAT TRIBULATION



great tribulation

Tribulation - Physical or Spiritual?

church tribulation




Could the approaching 'Great Tribulation' be

a spiritual event?


Are all the existing theories, those which see the wrath of God (the
Great Tribulation) destroying the physical earth and its inhabitants,
wrong?


Some of the verses which allude to the Great Tribulation are;


         Deut  4:30   When you are in distress
                      (tribulation), and all these
                      things come upon you in the
                      latter days, ...


         Isa  24:19   The earth is violently broken,
                      the earth is split open,
                      the earth is shaken exceedingly.
                :20   The earth shall reel to and fro
                        like a drunkard,
                      and shall totter like a hut;
                      its transgression shall be heavy
                        upon it,
                      and it will fall, and not rise
                        again.
                :21   It shall come to pass in that day
                      ...
                :23   Then the moon will be disgraced
                      and the sun ashamed; ...



earth shaking

         Matt 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.
                :22   And unless those days were
                      shortened, no flesh would be
                      saved; but for the elect's sake
                      those days will be shortened.

devastating

The Great Tribulation is also mentioned in Revelation.


         Rev   6:12   I looked when He opened the sixth
                      seal, and behold, there was a great
                      earthquake; and the sun became black
                      as sackcloth of hair, and the moon
                      became like blood.
                :13   And the stars of heaven fell to the
                      earth, as a fig tree drops its late
                      figs when it is shaken by a mighty
                      wind.
                :14   Then the sky receded as a scroll
                      when it is rolled up, and every
                      mountain and island was moved out of
                      its place.


A number of people have been taught that during the Great Tribulation
these events will literally and fatally strike those inhabiting the
earth.
Earthquakes, famines, warfare, epidemics, hurricanes,   storm
fire-storms and floods. Such events are regularly reported in the news,
but are these fulfilling biblical prophecy? Will warfare and a series
of great calamities strike this planet and bring large scale suffering
and death to its inhabitants.

As God has promised protection for His 'elect', the Christian world has
developed the 'rapture theory' (a miraculous transfer of individuals
to the safety of the presence of Christ). Others have preferred a more
subtle departure such as an airline flight to a remote wilderness
location.


So much speculation.


There is little doubt the tribulation is described in physical terms.
However, even acknowledging this fact, one is still left with the
question of whether we should be understanding these words at a
physical or spiritual level. Everyone in the past has always rendered
a literal interpretation, but what if God's message is in reality
spiritual?!

What would the message be if we were talking about;

             a spiritual desolation.      great burning


What weapons would be used?

Who would perish?

Why would it be necessary for them to die?


Let us consider examples of words being described as weapons.

           Isa  11:4    .... He shall strike the earth with the
                        rod of His mouth,
                        and with the breath of His lips He shall
                        slay the wicked.

                30:27   ... His lips are full of indignation,
                        and His tongue like a devouring fire;
                  :28   His breath is like an overflowing stream, ...

                30:33   .... The breath of the LORD, like a
                        stream of brimstone, ....

           Jer   5:14   .... Because you speak this word, behold,
                        I will make My words in your mouth fire,
                        and this people wood, and it shall devour
                        them.



During the period of the wrath of God 'words' will be used to wreck an
awesome spiritual devastation.

           2 Thes 2:9   The coming of the lawless one is according
                        to the working of Satan, with all power,
                        signs, and lying wonders,
                   :10  and with all unrighteous deception among
                        those who perish, because they did not
                        receive the love of the truth, that they
                        might be saved.
strong delusion
     :11  And for this reason God will send them
          strong delusion, that they should believe
          the lie.
           Dan    8:23  .... A king shall arise, having fierce features,
                        who understands sinister schemes {dark riddles}.
                   :24  .... He shall destroy fearfully,
                   :25  Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to
                        prosper under his hand; ....


'Words' can not physically kill someone, but 'words' can kill faith!
Through a 'strong delusion' people can be lured away from the teaching of
God and led into another set of beliefs. By this means spiritual children
can be 'killed' or 'taken captive'.

It is during this time of strong delusion that a spiritual famine will
prevail.

           Amos   8:11  "Behold, the days are coming", says
                        the Lord GOD, "that I will send a
                        famine on the land,
                          not a famine of bread,
                          nor a thirst for water,
                        but of hearing the words of the LORD.
                   :12  They shall wander from sea to sea,
                        And from north to east; they shall
                        run to and fro, seeking the word of

                        the LORD, but shall not find it.
                   :13  In that day the fair virgins and
                        strong young men shall faint from
                        thirst.


Those who perish in the devastation are people of God.

           Dan   12:7   .... that it shall be for a time, times,
                        and half a time; and when the power of the
                        holy people has been completely shattered,
                        all these things shall be finished.

           Jer   30:7   Alas! For that day is great, so that none
                        is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's
                        trouble, ...


Why would this distress come upon the people of spiritual Israel?

           2 Thes 2:10  .... because they did not receive the
                        love of the truth, that they might be saved.

           Ezek  13:3   Thus says the Lord GOD:
                        "Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow
                         their own spirit and have seen nothing!
                   :5   "You have not gone up into the gaps to
                         build a wall for the house of Israel to
                         stand in battle on the day of the LORD."


The period of prophetic grief is also known by the terms,
fire burst


  -  Jacobs Trouble

  -  the day of the LORD

  -  the day of vengeance (Prov 6:34, Isa 34:8,
                                  61:2, 63:4, Jer 46:10.)
The day of vengeance is the period when the wrath of God is unleashed. But
vengeance for what?

          Rev     6:9   .... 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.
                   :10  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?"


Exactly who kills the prophets?

          Matt   23:37  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who
                        kills the prophets and stones those
                        who are sent to her! ...."


'Jerusalem', the literal city, did not kill the prophets, but the people
of God it represented did. In the past the Jewish faith represented
'Jerusalem'. In our time Christianity represents the people of God today.
church


In the verses quoted we have encountered references to 'the earth'.
This has led many to believe later day prophecy is aimed at the
Gentiles.

Few have realized God is not referring to the literal
or physical earth, but the 'Christian world'.


The following verses illustrate the use of this symbolism.  
Christianity
           Rev  12:1    .... a woman clothed with the sun,
                        with the moon under her feet,
                        and on her head a garland of twelve
                        stars.

           Zeph  3:8    .... all the earth shall be devoured
                        with the fire of My jealousy.

           Isa  24:5    .... broken the everlasting covenant.
                  :6    Therefore the curse has devoured the
                        earth, ....
                        [No covenant exists between Gentiles
                        and God, the everlasting covenant is
                        between spiritual Israel and God.]
the covenant

What about other verses which appear to be discussing Gentiles?

           Rev   11:2   But leave out the court which is outside
                        the temple, and do not measure it, for it
                        has been given to the Gentiles. And they
                        will tread the holy city underfoot for
                        forty-two months.
nations

    :18  The nations were angry, and Your wrath
         has come, ....
                 20:8   and will go out and deceive the nations
                        which are in the four corners of the
                        earth, ....


Firstly the Greek word for 'Gentiles' in Rev 11:2 is more commonly
translated 'nations' in the book of Revelation. Rev 11:2 should read
"for it has been given to the nations".

Secondly the promises made to Abraham, and passed on to the sons of
Joseph, encompassed the notion of 'nations'.

           Gen   17:5   No longer shall your name be called Abram,
                        but your name shall be Abraham; for I have
                        made you a father of many nations.

                 48:18  And Joseph said to his father, "Not so,
                        my father, for this one is the firstborn;
                        put your right hand on his head".
                   :19  But his father refused and said, "I know,
                        my son, I know. He also shall be great;
                        but truly his younger brother shall be
                        greater than he, and his descendants shall
                        become a multitude of nations."


Are these spiritual nations (major Christian denominations)?

           Rom    4:16  .... so that the promise might be sure
                        to all the seed, not only to those who
                        are of the law, but also to those who
                        are of the faith of Abraham, who is the
                        father of us all
                   :17  (as it is written, "I have made you a
                        father of many nations") ....

           Gal    3:7   Therefore know that only those who are of
                        faith are sons of Abraham.
                   :8   And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would
                        justify the nations by faith, preached the
                        gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying,
                        "In you all the nations shall be blessed".


In a spiritual tribulation, where peoples faith is decimated, true
Gentiles would not be impacted.


How then should the image of Daniel chapter 2 be viewed?

The text of the book of Daniel clearly discusses the Gentile kingdoms
of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece. The fourth kingdom is left vague.
Is the fourth kingdom religious? Is the whole image merely a cryptic
representation of another entity?


In summary, could the desolation be spiritual? Yes it could be, but this
precept has not previously been considered by most people.

Scripture commands us to 'watch'!         watch for warnings

           Luke  21:36   Watch therefore, and pray always that you
                         may be counted worthy to escape all these
                         things that will come to pass, and to stand
                         before the Son of Man.



Should we 'watch' for a physical form of devastation or a spiritual form
of devastation???




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