Should Christians Prepare for the Great Tribulation? (Part 2)

TEXT: Revelation 3:7-11; Revelation 3:19-21; Revelation 4:1-4

Last time, we tackled the question of, should Christians prepare for the Great Tribulation? We found that the answer was ‘no’ based on three facts about the church. The first is that the church is distinct from Israel. The second is that victory for the church has already been determined. And, the third is that the church and Israel have different expectations about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Today, we are going to continue addressing this question from a different perspective. We are going to look at three passages of Scripture in the book of Revelation that shed light on this issue of whether or not the church will be in the Great Tribulation.

1. The first passage we are going to look at is Jesus’ letter to the church at Philadelphia. Jesus told that church, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” The church at Philadelphia was the only church that Jesus Christ did not say anything negative about. He only had words of compliment and encouragement for this church: they were a strong church, they had kept (obeyed) God’s word, and they had not denied Jesus Christ.

2. The second passage we want to look at is Jesus’ letter to the church at Laodicea. Now, we all remember Laodicea as the church that was lukewarm. In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus tells this church, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

3. The third passage that we will look at today contains the words of the Apostle John as he is called up into Heaven to receive the vision of things which are to come. In Revelation 4:1, John says, “After this I looked, and, behold, 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, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

All of this Biblical evidence supports the view that the Rapture will, indeed, take place before the Great Tribulation. In his message to the church at Philadelphia, Christ promises that faithful believers will be spared the “hour of temptation” that will come upon the whole earth. In his message to the church at Laodicea, which had a form of dead Christianity and was headed toward apostasy, Christ urges them to repent while there is still time, or risk being left behind when the “overcomers” — those who are truly saved — are taken out of this world. And, in the Revelation of John, we see a type of the church as the apostle is caught up from the earthly realm and into the heavenly realm before he is allowed to see the events of the Great Tribulation.

Knowing that God has planned for us to be delivered out of this world allows us to live without fear of the future. Before us, we will only see two options — death or the rapture. We can praise God today that either option means that we will be with our Saviour in Heaven, safely delivered from the wrath to come.

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