Should Christians Prepare for the Great Tribulation? (Part 1)

TEXT: Matthew 24:14-22

During World War II, the government of Great Britain commissioned the creation of bunkers deep underground to protect citizens during Nazi aerial bombing campaigns. The cavernous bunkers were stocked with bunk beds, blankets, and food. Some of them held up to 8,000 people at time. For weeks, Londoners wondered if they would have to go down into those bunkers for protection. Some people probably laughed off the idea and thought the war would never come to British shores. But, when the Nazi planes began flying over southern England, and thousands of people were herded underground, I’m sure everyone was glad the bunkers had been built. Even though the bombing campaign was devastating, the city was prepared, and many lives were saved.

The Bible gives us very vivid descriptions of a time known as The Tribulation. Jesus Christ spoke of it in His Olivet Discourse in the verses we just read. A critical question for us as Christians is should we be gearing up for the Tribulation. Should we make preparations for those dark days that are coming in the future, just as the British made preparations for the German bombers.

It is wonderful to think about the Rapture and Jesus coming back to remove us from this sin-cursed world and take us to Heaven to be with Him. But, it is quite a different matter to think about the Tribulation — the wars, disasters, and divine wrath that will be poured out on Earth. Should Christians be preparing for the Tribulation?
Now, I and the majority of Christians are of the pre-tribulational view. We believe that the Rapture of the church will take place before the Tribulation. And, today, I want to show you from the Word of God why I believe the Bible teaches that the Rapture will take place before the Tribulation.

1. Notice the distinctiveness of the church. First Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” In this verse, Peter speaking to people who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. He is speaking to the church.

2. Notice the determined victory of the church. Another reason why I believe the Bible teaches the pre-tribulation Rapture is because Jesus promised that Satan would never prevail against the church. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus Christ said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” During the Tribulation, the Bible tells us that Satan and the Antichrist will rule over a “church.” However, it cannot be the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ because here in this verse, Jesus promises that “the gates of Hell will never prevail” against the church. Thus, the church must be already taken out of the way before the Tribulation.

3. Notice the different expectations. Look quickly with me at a verse we have read many times — John 14:2-3. Jesus tells His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This ‘coming again’ which Jesus refers to is clearly the Rapture.

Do Christians need to get ready for the Tribulation? The answer is “no.” Because of the distinctiveness of the church, the determined victory of the church, and the different expectation of the church, believers are not looking for wrath, but for the Rapture. We are not looking for Satan to wield power over the Earth, but for a Saviour who will deliver us from those dark days. We are not looking for the Tribulation, but for the triumph of the Lamb who was slain. We are not looking for the undertaker but the uppertaker. The Tribulation is coming, but God has set it up so that those who believe in Him will be delivered.

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