THE TRIBULATION OF THE CHURCH 2
In our article last week, we saw that God is about to usher the church into a season 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.
The purpose of this tribulation of the church is to SPEED UP the emergence or manifestation of the perfect man-child church in the earth.
God is going to do this by bringing severe judgements 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 week, we will see in more detail how the church will be perfected THROUGH (NOT BY) this tribulation.
1Peter 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.
God will use the perfect Church as a standard by which to judge those who have been carried away by covetousness and rebellion, firstly among the present leadership of the Church and then secondly among they that follow them.
2Peter 2:1-3 AMP: BUT ALSO [in those days] there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2) And many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed. (3) And in their covetousness (lust, greed) they will exploit you with false (cunning) arguments. From of old the sentence [of condemnation] for them has not been idle; their destruction (eternal misery) has not been asleep.
This judgement in the Church will cause many in the Church to be offended, to be deceived by false prophets and cause their love to wax cold:
Matthew 24:10 AMP: And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.
Matthew 24:11-12 NKJV: Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (12) And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
In fact as many as two-thirds of the church will be cut-off and die spiritually or backslide because of God’s judgments: this is why this time is called the tribulation of the church:
Zechariah 13:7-8 NKJV: “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. (8) And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it:
The remaining one-third in the church will be purified by the blood, the Word and the Spirit THROUGH (NOT BY) the fire of tribulation:
Zechariah 13:9 NKJV: I will bring the one-third THROUGH the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ “
Malachi 3:2-3 NKJV: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. (3) He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.
So, we see that the purpose of the tribulation of the church is TO BE A CATALYST to purify the church so that God will have a perfect church in this day of the Lord.
A perfect church is one with a leadership, which is operating in the perfection and fulness of Christ with a fully submitted followership who have not yet experienced perfection or maturity but are following the teachings and example of the perfect leadership with an honest and humble heart.
1Corinthians 1:10 NKJV: Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
MERCIFULLY, many of the two-thirds that are cut off or fall away will rise again and return to the church in genuine repentance, like the prodigal son, to be fully submitted to the new perfect leadership of refined gold and silver God would have used to replace the bad shepherds he smote and cut off earlier.
In Luke 15:18 the prodigal son repents and says:
Luke 15:18 NKJV: I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,
Luke 2:34 AMP: And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is appointed and destined for the FALL and RISING of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against–[Isa. 8:14, 15.]: 35 NIV so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
God the Father will receive these prodigal sons back into the family: they who had died spiritually will be made alive again:
Luke 15:32 NKJV: It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”
Thus many of the Christians that backslide or are cut-off during this tribulation of the church will be saved by the fire of tribulation but will suffer the loss of experiencing the purification and perfection they would have experienced as gold or silver and its attendant eternal rewards:
1Corinthians 3:15 NKJV: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
So, let everyone NOW ‘watch and pray always’ to be accounted worthy TO ABIDE AND STAND and not be cut-off and fall as we enter this season of the ‘Tribulation of the Church’
Luke 21:36 NKJV: 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.”
In our article next week, we will see ALL we need to do to ABIDE AND STAND as the Lord comes to His church in His perfection, fulness and glory and the ‘Tribulation of the Church’ begins!