Will Christians suffer the Great Tribulation?

Hi everyone,

I pray all are safe and well. :pray:t3:

As the pandemic continues, I have noticed more and more Christians conversing about how this could possibly be signs of the times. Although it very well could be, I am also aware that this isn’t the first time we, as the Church, have thought this.

A friend of mine shared how he believes micro chipping could possibly be the mark of the beast. This sparked my thinking, and as I was digging deeper, I came across an interview with Pastor John Piper about the Great Tribulation. In his interview, he mentioned how he believes Christians will, in fact, endure the Great Tribulation. One of his reasons for believing so is because he believes the rapture of the Church will be considered as Christ returning, and as scripture says, there is only one coming of Christ, and according to Pastor John, that will take place after the Great Tribulation.

I think Pastor John makes excellent points, but I have always believed the Church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation takes place. I don’t necessarily consider the rapture of the Church to be the second coming of Christ as scripture says. The second coming, I believe, will be when Jesus makes His glorious appearance before the whole world.

I am curious to know everyone else’s views and why!

His interview is in the link below :slight_smile:

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Well, I’ve gotten a lot of good insights from Pastor Piper over the years, but I would not consider this discussion one of his finest moments.

I’ve never heard anyone say they believe in the Second Comings of Christ. When Pastor Piper described what we believe as two returns of Christ, that was the first time I’ve ever heard anyone characterize it that way. He was arguing against something that no one I’ve ever known believes. So I’d say he did a great job debunking a straw man.

When the Lord returns, He isn’t going back to heaven - He’s going to war! He will rapture His saints out of the war zone and immediately prosecute a seven-year war against all the kingdoms of this world. Just as His First Coming covered a 30-year time period, so His Second Coming will cover a seven-year period. But they are each referred to as single events despite the fact that they last for years.

I believe Pastor Piper’s whole view evaporates when one quits referring to the Second Coming of Christ as the Second Comings. I actually agreed with what he said if taken in the context of a single coming.

So, in a single Second Coming that begins with a rapture and ends with Armageddon, the Lord will win all the kingdoms of this world - and especially Israel - unto Himself!

I hope this helps you - at least with the processing of Pastor Piper’s interview.

If you like, I would be glad to share several reasons why I believe the Rapture happens before the Tribulation.

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Thank you, @jlyons, and yes, that helps a lot! These are my beliefs as well, but it’s always interesting to hear different views from others.

I am interested in learning why you believe the rapture is before the tribulation- Please explain!

I am only in Psalms in the Old Testament, so I have a long way to go before I get to the Book of Revelation (I am reading from beginning to end).

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Olivia, already I am enjoying this post! I grew up believing a version of all of this that may be less popular than others and that is that any teaching of a rapture, tribulation, and battle of Armageddon are false. We believed that Revelation is purely metaphorical and that it was written in a way that probably only the first century Christians could understand, that any prophecies written in Revelation have already been fulfilled, and therefore Revelation was too difficult to interpret. I no longer believe this view to be true, so am intrigued at any perspective I hear about. And I love reading Revelation! It is a fascinating book unlike any other in the Bible, as well as prophecies in the Old Testament that compliment Revelation. Like you Olivia, I look forward to anything that will be shared in this post! :blush:

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Okay, let me offer you these four reasons for now. There is a fifth reason, but it’s a bit long. So I’ll let you digest these, and if you want to hear one more, just let me know and I’ll share it.

1. God does not subject His children to wrath

The New Testament repeatedly says that Christians are saved from wrath through Christ (Romans 5:9), that Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come (I Thessalonians 1:10), that God hath not appointed us to wrath (I Ths 5:9), and so on.

But the Revelation repeatedly describes this seven-year war by such expressions as the wrath of the lamb, the wrath of God, the great day of his wrath, the wine of his wrath, the fierceness of his wrath, and so forth.

God reserves His wrath for the lost who are by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (Colossians 3:6), the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost (I Thessalonians 2:16), etc.

2. The conspicuous absence of any mention of the Church throughout the Tribulation chapters (Revelation 4-19).

Churches are mentioned in every chapter before this, and once again in the final chapter – but never during the entire Tribulation saga. A curious omission if the church is the devil’s target and the Bridegroom’s love! An argument from silence? Oh yes – but a very “loud” silence!

3. The imminent return of Christ

Jesus frequently describes His coming as a thief in the night – no man would know the day nor the hour – the times nor the seasons – such a time as ye think not – be always ready – and so forth. His whole point seems to be that if you’re caught off-guard when it begins, there’ll be no time to change your lot afterward. We generally summarize this concept as the “imminent return” of Christ.

Now, the key events that take place from the appearance of the antichrist through various series of judgments all the way to Armageddon are fairly well mapped out in the Revelation. So if the Bible taught that the Rapture came at the middle of the Tribulation, or at the end, it wouldn’t really be that hard to estimate the time or season of it. The only point in the drama where it can be completely unpredictable is at the very start. Revelation 4:1, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, which said, Come up hither…

4. The Church’s restraint of the antichrist

In II Thessalonians 2:1 and following, Paul beseeches his readers not to be deceived into thinking that the Tribulation is already upon them. He beseeches them on the basis of things they should remember from his teaching when he had been with them (verse 5) – especially about the coming of Christ and our gathering together unto Him (verse 1), meaning the rapture.

He says that the Tribulation cannot come before a great falling away – and the Greek word is “apostasia” – or apostasy. This describes the moral freefall that will overcome the world when the salt and light is abruptly removed leaving it in decadence and darkness. For the first time in history, there will be no believers anywhere on earth.

And in that spiritual midnight, the antichrist will finally be able to assume power (verse 3).

In verses 6-7 Paul says that, based on what he’s just reminded them of, they now know what withholds the antichrist that he might be revealed in his time. The mystery of iniquity, the unseen forces ever seeking to bring the antichrist to power, are always at work in this world – but He Who is currently hindering this will continue to do so until He’s taken out of the way. That’s talking about the Holy Spirit working through the body of Christ until that body of believers is gathered unto him (verse 1).

And then he repeats that only then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed (verse 8).

The point is that, so long as the Church exists in this world, the antichrist will never be able to rise. Jesus said that the gates of hell could not prevail against it. We must be removed through the rapture before the apostasy or the antichrist or any other of the dominos can fall.

I hope these thoughts help you. Let me know if you have any questions.

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@OJMCKEE I very much appreciate this question as it has caused me to go back and look into this again. There are three main views on this, however, there are others too.

  • The first is a pre-tribulation rapture. @jlyons has done a great job explaining this view.
  • The second is a middle tribulation rapture. Which would be at the 3.5 year mark.
  • The third is a post-tribulation rapture. This would mean the church is here for the tribulation.

Here is a video explaining the post-trib rapture perspective. This particular teacher I greatly appreciate as his preparation and lecture notes are of high quality. I have actually tried to mirror my teaching off him, and I am a school principal :joy:

The thing I always say about this question is that it is an open-handed doctrine. It is something we can debate and discuss but it is not a closed handed docterine, or one that is central to our faith. I have changed my opinion on this more than once and very well may again. I hope this is helpful.

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@jlyons Thank you for taking the time to explain everything! This helps a lot.

@brianlalor He does a very good job at explaining
his perspective on the rapture! Very convincing!

Taking both perspectives into consideration, I am gathering that, whichever sequence happens, God will not allow His wrath to harm the Church. We face tribulation every day (now is a good example of that :grimacing:), but we will not have to face the Great Tribulation, whether we are here when it happens or not. Does that seem correct?

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@gchop I think The Book of Revelation is the most debated book in the Bible! That’s why it sparks my curiosity, and also because it could happen at any given moment, and I’m sure all of us want to be prepared! :grimacing:

Well, it’s certainly true that the timing of the rapture is not central to the Christian faith. But I do think that the more puzzle pieces we can correctly assemble, the clearer a picture of the whole we can see. And learning to correctly approach the Bible in less critical areas reinforces a correct approach in all areas.

Pastor Brickle’s main opposition to the pre-tribulation rapture did not appear to be anything Biblical, but rather that it seemed too recent and too American. I’ve heard that objection before, and I’ve always considered it weak.

I say “weak” because it seems that as the body of Christ gained access to the scriptures in their own tongues after the Reformation, a growing understanding of the wealth of its contents should be expected over time. Martin Luther’s declaration that “the just shall live by faith” was certainly considered too recent and too German by many powerful elements in his time. But as each generation of evangelical Christians builds on the shoulders of those before, we should discover more. There should continually be things unveiled that those steeped in older traditions might dismiss as too recent or too localized to whatever school of Christianity has uncovered them. The advance of discovery strikes me as a silly argument against the validity of the things discovered.

Pastor Bickle is certainly right that the judgments upon Pharaoh are an obvious parallel to the judgments upon the antichrist, particularly the last judgments in Revelation 16.

And he is right that Moses and the Israelites are persecuted by Pharaoh, just as Israel will be persecuted under the antichrist.

The Bible definitely teaches that the Tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble – Jeremiah 30:7. And the Jewish people will be delivered through it – Daniel 12:1. Revelation 12 is undoubtedly the passage he is thinking of when he mentions the “12 verses” where the antichrist persecutes his enemies. The chapter begins by identifying the great red dragon as the devil (v 9), and the persecuted people as the woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and the crown of 12 stars about her head (v 1) – an obvious reference to Israel from Genesis 37:9-10.

But Pastor Brickle substitutes the word “church” for “Israel” as he explains all of this – despite the fact that the church is never mentioned in these chapters. The seven-year Tribulation is all about God delivering Israel, not God delivering the Church.

Somehow the idea of rapturing the church after the Tribulation is all over – just to make a u-turn and come right back down again – seems a bit pointless.

Ah, well – I won’t begrudge Pastor Brickle his views, as I hope others will not begrudge me mine.

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I always enjoy this type of discussion because so many are involved with different points of view. I like to begin with there are 2 major views of rapture and they both have been around since the 4th century if not before. They are:

  1. Premillennial Rapture which has 3 positions. Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, and Post-Tribulation Rapture
  2. Post-Millennial Rapture which has 2 positions: Amillennial Rapture and Post-Millennial Rapture

All 5 positions have their adherents today with supporting Scriptures. As a note there is also discussion concerning the Millennium as well. Again there are 2 major groups:

  1. The Millennium is a literal 1000 years and this group is broken into 2 groups: Those who believe that the Millennium has yet to occur and those who believe that the Millennium has begun. The later virtually disappeared after the 1500s when most of its adherents became Amillenniasts.
  2. The Millennium is not a literal 1000 years, but rather is a spiritual number. The majority of these adherents believe that we are in the Millennium at this time.

All of these positions have their basis in Scripture and that is important to remember when discussing this issue. We are Iron sharpening Iron and not discussing matters of Christian Orthodoxy.

There are historical reasons why all these views developed but a little history on Eschatology in The Church would be beneficial.

  1. The early Church believed primarily in Pre-Millennial, Post-Tribulation Rapture. We see at the end of John in Verse Jn21:21-22 a statement that strongly supports this view but we should remember also what Jesus said What is that to you. You follow me.
  2. The position of the early Church gradually changed after the Edict of Milan in the 4th Century. There was strong belief that with this edict was the beginning of the Millennium and this belief was supported by Augustine of Hippo primarily in his writing of City of God. One of the outcomes of this I believe was to announce that the Bishop of Rome is The Vicar of Christ. This was because the adherents to the concept the Millennium had begun had to answer the question: Where is Jesus who is supposed to be reigning during the Millennium.
  3. As 1400 approached it was becoming evident that a literal 1000 year Millennium was not occurring as a 1000 years had passed from the Edict of Milan and Jesus had not returned. The adherents to the position that the Millennium had occurred began to strongly espouse Amillennism. Also the Church began also to revert to Pre-Millennial, Post-Tribulation Rapture that was the early Church position. Additionally this time brought the Reformation and the Reformers held the Early Church Position. The total undermining of the Post-Millennial position of last 1000 years also undermined the authority of the Pope and thus had a part in starting The Reformation.
  4. In the early 1800s along with the Pentecostal Movement the concept of Pre-Tribulation Rapture was introduced and became popularized more and more until today so that the majority Protestant position holds to this belief. Note: the majority of The Church at large does not. Before 1800 there had been some theological suggestions of this position but these suggestions never became a significant part of the understanding of the Church at Large.

So what does all this mean? It means that while all positions are based in Scripture there is no consensus on any position and we really do not know in detail how the end times will occur. Daniel 12:9 He said, “Go your way , Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Thus I would say we need to read and discuss The Book of Revelation but these discussions should bind us together not move us apart. We know that there will be suffering in the end times; We know Jesus is coming back; and we know that the end of time will occur at the end of the Millennium.

Love you all
Dan

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@jlyons I was doing more studying and I did, in fact, see where the “144,000,” or Israel, will be “sealed,” meaning they will be protected through the Great Tribulation. I’m assuming the Great Multitude, who will also be sealed, is the soon-to-be raptured church?

The more I read, the more questions I have and the more my brain feels like it’s going to explode! Thank you for being so patient with me! :pray:t3:

I believe that the church is already gone by the time Revelation 7 comes around. These are the converts of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will be carrying the gospel to every tribe and tongue around the world (Matthew 24:14) during the Tribulation. All of the believers in the Tribulation come from the preaching of the two witnesses God sent to Jerusalem in the beginning of Revelation 11, and the 144,000 who first believed the gospel through them and then began spreading it to the ends of the earth.

I believe that all of those left behind who had already heard the gospel through the witness of the departed Church are not those being converted during the Tribulation - they are the ones being deluded by the antichrist - II Thessalonians 2:9-12.

So the witness of the Church is completed by the rapture. That’s why Jesus can say, “I come quickly and my reward is with me”. He can reward the church immediately after the rapture because all the “ripple effects” of their witness are finished. The evangelism that explodes throughout the Tribulation is entirely from the preaching of the two witnesses, the 144,000 and their converts.

PS - that’s wonderful having your head explode with Biblical insights!

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We were at a church where the pastor was very keen on John Piper. He answered the question of the rapture to the effect that there is no such thing. He referred to all kinds of scriptures but the one he left out was 1 Thess. 4:17. When asked about it afterward, he contemptuously replied that then Jesus would have to come back more than once.

When Jesus returns as the captain of his army to wage war on Satan, he will do so on the earth. The rapture takes place in the clouds. There are some excellent answers in this thread.

Good for you that you want to read THE WHOLE bible, not just bits. I would recommend to you Revelation 1:3 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. ESV

God bless you!

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This is one of the most helpful responses I have ever read. I have bookmarked it for future use. Thank you for the time you put into it @dan0647 :handshake:

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If anyone is interested in a solid teaching on Pre-Millennial, Post-Tribulation Rapture a good series is Dr. Walter Martin The Tribulation and The Church. It is a 6 part series with each part being about 10 minutes long and it is on YouTube. As a side note Walter Martin and Hal Lindsey would debate pre-tribulation and post-tribulation rapture and they were very good friends.

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@dan0647 Thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely check them out, especially now, since I have more time on my hands!

My husband and I are discussing the Book of Revelation together. I will have to let him read your post. I don’t think I could explain it more clearly than you did! Thanks for taking the time to give such a thorough response! I really think you hit the nail on the head :+1:t3:

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I viewed the Video and I appreciate the explanation in it. However there is little discussion about the Biblical support for the Post-Tribulation Rapture. A couple of points to bring to the discussion with the video as an introduction.

  1. Generally most of The Church places the Rapture with the second coming of Christ and there are 2 major positions on the Second Coming: Pre-Millennial and Post-Millennial. The video only discusses the Pre-Millennial perspective.
  2. Most holders of The Pre-Tribulation Rapture position believe that The Rapture does not occur with The Second Coming of Jesus. Their position is that The Second Coming is at the end of The Tribulation, but The Church is raptured prior to The Tribulation.

This second point is why so many talk past each other. The Biblical support for Post-Tribulation Rapture has a principle tenant that The Rapture occurs at the time of Second Coming and thus the proponents of this position focus on showing the Second Coming of Jesus is after The Tribulation. The Pre-Tribulation proponents usually agree with this position. However the real issue for discussion is whether The Rapture is a separate event from The Second Coming or is at The Second Coming.

Again https://youtu.be/-cTyle41I6k is Dr. Walter Martin’s presentation of the Pre-Millennial, Post-Tribulation position from a biblical viewpoint. I believe it is well worth watching. I will note here Dr. Walter Martin is the author of Kingdom of The Cults and was the originator of the Bible Answer Man radio program.
Dan

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Yes because we are Christians he who believes in Jesus Christ will have to suffer as his disciple also suffered so we have be free from fear for preaching the gospel of living god. I am concerned for whole world how all suffers from pandemic.
God will bless all the Europe ,America , Rest of the world , Pray for all who had lost life and all suffering from this pandemic disease all will vanish for ever. We have to fight back against this and we will get victory over this.
Thanks and prayers for the health personals , Cops , Military and all the social organisations who is helping us to fight against this disease without even thinking about there life.

We have to pray strongly for healing in our Christ hands , God bless All…

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very well, written and argumentations underlined with scripture!

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There are several views on end times.

Most of the Reformers were Amillennial in their beliefs. That should at least give us pause before choosing another position.

American theologian giants Charles Hodge, BB Warfield and Jonathan Edwards were postmillenialists.

I live in the South and grew up Baptist and the dominant view here among conservative Baptists and other conservatives seems to be premillenial beliefs of a dispensational nature.

Among the three dominant end time views there seems to be plenty of nuances.

One pastor friend told me he was a panmillenialist - it will all pan out in the end.

I think the danger with any of the end time positions - and I am personally ok with any of them - is turning them into essentials.

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