Should Christians Prepare for the Great Tribulation? (Part 3)

TEXT: Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 36:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10

As you know, we have been looking at the topic of whether or not Christians should prepare for the Great Tribulation. This is our last message on this issue. In the first message in this series, we found that the answer to this important question 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.

In the second message in this series, we looked at three passages in the book of Revelation which indicate that God’s true church will be taken out of the world in the Rapture, before the Great Tribulation. Based on Jesus’ contrasting letters to the faithful church at Philadelphia and the lukewarm church at Laodicea we saw the importance of making sure that we are true followers of Jesus Christ and the importance of being on guard against those worldly influences which will spawn an apostate church.

Today, we are going to look at three sets of Biblical evidences that tell us who and what the Great Tribulation is meant for and why.

1. The Great Tribulation is for the judgment and salvation of Israel. God revealed to the prophet Daniel what would happen to the nation of Israel in the last days. This revelation is often referred to as the 70 weeks based on Daniel 9:24 which reads, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

2. The Great Tribulation is for the judgment of ungodly nations. During this period of seven years, God is not only dealing with Israel, but He is dealing with the unbelieving people who remain on the earth after the Rapture. Speaking through His prophet Ezekiel, God says, “I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen… and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord.”

3. The Great Tribulation is a time for the unrestraining of evil. Look at 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”

What we have seen today shows us that God is in control of all of the events of history. He has a plan for Israel, He has a plan for the heathen nations, and He has a plan for us — the church. We can trust His plan. We don’t know when the Rapture will take place, but we do know that the Rapture is God’s way of gathering up His true church out of this world before the final judgments of earth begin.

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