THE TRIBULATION OF THE CHURCH
Matthew 24:3 KJV: And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Here, the disciples asked the Lord Jesus about the end-times in a question that shows three periods of the end time:
1. The destruction of the temple and Jerusalem (‘When shall these things be?’); which took place in AD 70.
2. The signs of Christ’s coming.
3. The end of the world.
The first period is over: the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD.
We are now in the second period the signs of Christ’s coming.
We have seen almost all the signs of His coming especially, since 1900: we have had two world wars at a level of destruction, using technology for aerial, mechanized and nuclear warfare, far exceeding anything mankind had ever witnessed before this time. Also, we have seen and are seeing a great increase in ‘natural’ disasters like floods, earthquakes and pestilences like AIDS:
Matthew 24:6-8 KJV: And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Now, in verses 9-14 of Matthew 24 the Lord Jesus reveals to us a period of time, which can be called the ‘Tribulation of the church’:
Matthew 24:9-14 NKJV: “Then they will deliver you up to TRIBULATION and kill you, AND YOU WILL BE HATED BY ALL NATIONS FOR MY NAME’S SAKE (10) And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. (11) Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (12) And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. (13) But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
This is in contrast with the ‘Great Tribulation’ of the world described in verses 15-30 culminating in the PHYSICAL return of the Lord Jesus that will be seen PHYSICALLY BY ALL THE PEOPLE ON THE EARTH:
Matthew 24:21 NKJV: 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 24:29-30 NKJV: “Immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (30) Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
The details of this GREAT TRIBULATION are recorded in Rev. 6-19.
The perfect, man-child church that has been preventing or restraining the manifestation of the PERSON OF THE ANTI-CHRIST (the spirit of the anti-Christ has been in operation since the early church (1Jn.4.3)) AND SO THE GREAT TRIBULATION ON THE EARTH, will be raptured out of the earth or caught up to the throne of God having COMPLETED HIS ASSIGNMENT OF BREAKING, RULING AND DISCIPLING THE NATIONS AND SO PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM TO ALL NATIONS (MT.24.14).
2Thessalonians 2:7-8 AMP: For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he (THE MAN-CHILD PERFECT CHURCH) who restrains is taken out of the way. (8) And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming. [Isa. 11:4.]
Revelation 12:5 KJV: And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
So, in order to SPEED UP the emergence or manifestation of the perfect man-child church in the earth, God NOW (in September/October 2015 as the present blood moon tetrad (April 2014-September 2015 ends and the Feast of Tabernacles begins to be fulfilled) is about to make us transit from the season of ‘the beginning of sorrows’ to enter the season of the ‘tribulation of the church’ as described above in Mt. 24.9-14.
1 Peter 4:17 KJV: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Isaiah 26:9 KJV: With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
During this tribulation of the Church, God is going to bring severe judgement upon the Church. These judgements will ACT AS A CATALYST to cause the Church to SPEEDILY AND EFFICIENTLY use the blood (Heb.13.20-21), the Word (1 Jn.2.5) and the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Jn.4.12-13) to learn righteousness unto perfection and so OVERCOME this tribulation. This tribulation is prophetically spoken of symbolically in
Jeremiah 30:7-10 KJV: Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. (8) For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: (9) But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. (10) Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
Here, the scripture reveals that God will save the church from a ‘strange’ leadership typified by Saul and give her a new leadership typified by David, so delivering her from the spirit of Babylon that has kept her in captivity to spiritual immaturity.
The church that is being and has been perfected THROUGH (not by) this tribulation will preach the gospel of the Kingdom to ALL NATIONS (tribes, tongues and kindreds (Rev. 7.9)) and so end (Mt. 24.14) the season of the tribulation of church.
Matthew 24:14 KJV: And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
It is after the rapture or catching away of the man-child perfect church that the season GREAT TRIBULATION OF THE WORLD will begin.
In our article next week, we will see in more detail how the church will be perfected THROUGH (NOT BY) this tribulation.