Of course, who wouldn’t want to be rescued before widespread persecution? Who in their right mind would welcome tribulation? A way through this tug-o-war of what we want versus what is true, would be to plan for the worst and hope for the best. But to plan effectively, we need understanding from God.
A child may want to eat nothing but candy… but as they mature, they realize sweets lack nutrition. On a diet of only what tastes good, their body will become susceptible to sickness and disease (deception). Maturity requires learning. What does their body need in order to function the way God created it? Truth.
When we learn God’s ways and read how He dealt with His people, we see a God who tests and tries His people, to determine if they are faithful. We also see Scripture that references the end times and includes the testing of the saints. To ignore this because we don’t want it to be true, is unwise.
Tribulation is a word that has been grossly misunderstood and often erroneously misinterpreted. Although many people refer to the final seven years as the tribulation, this is not actually found in Scripture.
One may think, “Well, that’s not really important.” But if we don’t hold tightly to Scripture in our understanding of the end times, we are vulnerable to deception, and missing our mark.
As a pilot, navigation is a necessary aspect to flying. If I was flying a Boeing 747 from Los Angeles to Hawaii, I would set my heading for Hawaii upon departure. However, due to winds or a slight deviation in our instruments, we could easily find ourselves one degree or more off course very quickly. You may say, “Well, one degree isn’t that big of a deal.” But it is!
If we stay one degree off course for the duration of our flight, we will completely miss Hawaii and possibly run out of fuel somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Allowing for error in our interpretation of God’s Word on any subject, likewise, can leave us open to deception and ultimately, destruction. Because arriving safely at our heavenly destination is so important, it is urgent that we take our study and interpretation of God’s Word seriously.
So, for the sake of clarity, let’s look at this word tribulation according to what Scripture tells us is correct.
In John 16:33 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In this verse, Jesus is speaking about tribulation as something that has existed since the fall of man. It is something every Christian should expect to encounter, no matter what timeframe they live in. Again, looking at the details of Scripture, we see that there is a difference between general tribulation, which Jesus talked about in the above Scripture, and the “great tribulation,” which is referencing a very specific period of time. Let’s look at what Jesus said about the “great tribulation” so that we understand the difference.
Matthew 24 is one of the great passages of Scripture regarding the last days. Jesus is answering the question, “What will be the sign of the end of the age?” Jesus proceeds to describe the events that will occur in the final days, in verses 15-28. And in doing so, references the “great tribulation” in verse 21. He is describing the time that begins at the midpoint of the last seven years (which is also called the 70th Week of Daniel). “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.” Matthew 24:21.
So, we find that there is tribulation in the world, generally speaking, throughout human history. And also that there is a specific period of time called the “great tribulation” that occurs following the midpoint of the final seven years. This is the time in which the Antichrist is given power to persecute and rule for 42 months (the second half of the final seven years). And that specific period of time when Antichrist is given power, Jesus called the “great tribulation.”
“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:5-8.
This time of the great tribulation is also referred to as the “wrath of Antichrist” when Antichrist is given authority over the nation of Israel and the Church.
If we are serious about accurately understanding what the Bible teaches us about the last days, it is important to read Scripture in the context of the surrounding Scripture in order to understand when and why things are taking place.
Unfortunately, many teachers take a verse or two out of context of the Scripture surrounding it, and give it the interpretation they want to give it, instead of what God intended us to understand. That is one of the major reasons why it is important for each believer to study God’s Word for themselves. In the meantime, let us not forget the love command from the Lord Himself. Let us walk in love with our brethren.
One additional reference to the great tribulation is found in Revelation 7:9-10. “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
This description sounds a lot like the raptured saints, doesn’t it? And it is taking place during the second half of the final seven years, following the opening of the sixth seal. It continues: “The elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So, he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:13-14).
The rapture of the Saints, and the events that will occur in the last days, are too important to leave to someone else’s perspective. We are each accountable for understanding what is true and correct about this critical timeframe. God is clear that we individually are accountable for what we believe and therefore how we respond. Consider the following Scripture.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.
What we believe dictates our actions. Listening to other teachers can offer great inspiration and guidance, but ultimately, we are each accountable before God to know His written word well enough to recognize what is true and what is not true. Our eternal life depends upon it.
With God, nothing is impossible!
Dale and Paula Black
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“Your book Dale was in Poland love it and I gave it to American Pastor. Hanka – Poland
“Dale, it’s good to hear God’s reality these days. I’m a retired pastor with over 4 decades of ministry and it caught my attention your reference to Mr. Joel Green, being 77 yrs. old, because that’s how old I am. See brother Dale, your story can be substantiated with God’s Word. That’s what the His Word tells us to do in order to avoid being deceived. Keep up the good work our Lord has assigned you to do, you’ll reap abundant fruits and at the end great rewards from Jesus. I’ll surely keep you and yours in my prayers. ” William
“Thank God for sending a true prophet to help guide us and keep us focused on Him and His Truth in these perplexing and troubled times! Jesus bless and keep you and yours now, and until He appears.” – Jane
“Thank you, Dale, for sharing what God has showed you. It’s so easy to see The Holy Spirit “speaking” through you when you write these messages and make your videos. May God bless you and your team in abundance. I look forward to meet you all in Heaven.” Elisabeth