“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21.
As we begin to discuss about the great tribulation, it is important we first understand the meaning of the keyword ‘tribulation’ as used in the opening text…
The word translated as ‘tribulation’ in the opening text, is from the Greek word ‘thlipsis’, meaning—pressure. It means pressure—either literally or figuratively. Other synonyms of the word tribulation as translated in the New Testament are: affliction, anguish, burden, persecution, and trouble.
All through the ages, since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind has faced several kinds of tribulation and disaster. Some God-made—by his sovereign ideal; some man-made; and some others, devils’-made…
Even Israel—the chosen nation of God—also went through tribulations from God as a result of their evil deeds. Then the Church of Christ, since her emergence after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, has also suffered tribulations, especially in the form of persecution from non-believers.
But concerning the great tribulation, the Lord tells us in his own words that the great tribulation is a special kind of tribulation. That has never been experienced since the beginning of the world till the time he was speaking…
And that the great tribulation will not have its kind after it. Many Christian theologians are divided on their understanding and explanation of the great tribulation as mentioned by the Lord. Especially concerning its features and timing. Some say the great tribulation came to pass with the siege of Jerusalem in A.D 70. While some others say God will first come and rapture the Church before the great tribulation. So in this post, we want to see exactly what the scriptures say concerning the great tribulation.
The Features of the Great Tribulation
Having already known the meaning of the word ‘tribulation’, the great tribulation can therefore be explained as a period of great and unusual affliction. On the entire world and its inhabitants. And the major features of the great tribulation from scriptures are as follows:
- A Period of Great And Unusual Deception: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”—Matthew 24:24. A major feature of the great tribulation is an unusual emergence of deception. Which will be masterminded by the anti-Christ and his false prophet (see 2 Thessallonians2:9-11; Revelation 13:13-15) the bible says the deceptions at the great tribulation will be so strong that if it were possible, the very elect of God shall also be deceived.
- A Period of Great Persecution of the Saints: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations”—Revelation 13:7 (see also Daniel 8:24).Another prominent feature of the great tribulation is an unusual persecution of the Church. Yes, the church and saints of God of all ages has been persecuted and even martyred in large scale. But the persecution of the saints at the great tribulation will be far greater, especially in terms of scale. The world will be subjected to many kinds of idolatry and rituals of which anyone that fails to follow suit, will be killed or ostracized (see Revelation 13:12, 14-15).
So from the above two listed features of the great tribulation, it is very clear that the abomination of desolation will usher in the great tribulation. It is also very clear that the event of A.D 70 does not capture the great tribulation that Jesus talks about in the opening text. Then it is very clear that the saints or believers in Christ Jesus will partake of the great tribulation.
How to Escape the Great Tribulation
Now with all that has been said above concerning the great tribulation, the next question that quickly comes to mind is, how will the believers who remain alive till the emergence of the tribulation escape?
Listed below are the scriptural wisdom made available by God for believers to escape the great tribulation…
- Watchfulness And Prayerfulness: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man”—Luke 21:36.
From the above scripture, the Lord admonishes us concerning the great tribulation to be watchful and prayerful always. So we may be accounted worthy of escaping the things that shall come to pass at the great tribulation; so that in the end, we will be able to stand before him—the Son of man.
Escape as used in the above scripture does not speak mainly of escape from physical death but rather it talks about escaping from the wrath of God and second death. And this escape at the great tribulation can take either of two forms… Either escaping through death or martyr; or escaping through the rapture at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who do not escape the great tribulation will be taken in the tribulation. Either they are taken by the great deception or are taken by the great persecution through personal subjection…
And that is why the Lord admonishes us to be watchful and prayerful always. Because it’s only through these two spiritual tools we would be able to escape the great deception and persecution of the end-times at the great tribulation…
And finally be able to stand before our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ in paradise forever.
- The Love of God “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
- Patience and Endurance: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:9-13
- Faith: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”—1Timothy 6:12
In the above scripture, the Apostle Paul by the Spirit tells us that if we must lay hold on eternal life, we must fight the good fight of faith.That is we must stand strong on what we believe no matter what. So strong faith in God and his word is a major requirement for escaping the coming great tribulation. Hence, you must grow your faith at all time to be able to level out any mountain of life that comes your way in this present world and even in the periods of the great tribulation.
If you do have any comment or question concerning this topic you have just read concerning the great tribulation, you can drop them at the comment section below and I’ll reply you as soon as possible.
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