These are from some notes I wrote during listening to Roger Price talk about the Tribulation.
If you believe the tribulation is separate from the church period; then you must believe the church will not go through the tribulation – likewise, if you believe the tribulation is the end of the church period; then you must believe the church will go through the tribulation.
There are Christians on both sides of the argument. It is however a matter of biblical interpretation.
1 Peter 3:15 1 (ESV)
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
If anyone comes and asks what you think of a verse in scripture, it’s no good saying ‘well I think the church will go through the tribulation or won’t go through the tribulation’ and just leaves it at that. And then when they ask you why you believe that way, it’s no good to say, ‘oh well, I don’t know why, it’s just my opinion’. That is no reason for holding the beliefs that you hold.
You must be able to explain from scripture why you believe the view you hold is correct.
The period we call the Tribulation, is not just a general tribulation. THE tribulation is a period of history, a distinct number of years, and a distinct period of time which is characterised by the worst tribulation the earth will ever experience in its long history.
We need to be aware of which tribulation people are talking about when scripture is quoted. Ie general tribulation we go through as believers, or THE tribulation.
What did Jesus say about tribulation in general?
John 16:33 (ESV)
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
What did Paul say about tribulation (suffering) in general?
Romans 5:1–3 (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
Ephesians 3:13 (ESV)
13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
This use of the word ‘tribulation/suffering’ here refers to the time that all of us at some time may go through for our faith. This is different from the period of time that we are looking at which is referred to as THE Tribulation.
Two areas of study which help answer the question as to whether the church will go through the tribulation or not include:
1 – Taking prophetic passages of scripture literally and applying the same rule to any other passage scripture.
2 – The fact that the church was a mystery and not directly talked about in the Old Testament
Roger believes these two keys answer the question as to whether or not the church will go through the tribulation
The question is this:
We know that the church is not mentioned in the Old Testament, what we have to ask is, is the Tribulation mentioned in the OT… Yes it is. The church isn’t mentioned, but the tribulation is.
Roger concludes that this is evidence enough to say that the church will not go through the tribulation.
Scriptures referring to THE tribulation in the OT
Deuteronomy 4 (Deuteronomy is the second statement of the law – it was given to the children of Israel by Moses just before they entered the Promised Land. It was the last time Moses would instruct the children of Israel).
Deuteronomy 4:25-30 (ESV)
25 “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the LORD will scatter you among the people’s, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you.
28 And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:30 (ESV)
30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice.
My Notes: in verse 30 the prophesy says in the latter days the children of Israel will be in tribulation – the church is not mentioned, this deals solely with the Jews. (vs 27 shows that the tribulation talked about comes after the scattering from the land).
The church are not the ones who have angered God and turned away from Him to worship other idols or been scattered. So it cannot be the church that is referred to as going through the tribulation to finally turn back to God, but the Jewish people.
– Moses is talking about tribulation, but is this referring to THE tribulation?
Jeremiah has something to say about the re-gathering of the Jews:
Jeremiah 30:1–7 (ESV)
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”
4 These are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: 5 “Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. 6 Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? 7 Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.
My Notes: Jeremiah is talking about the day of Jacobs’s trouble, which people commonly refer to as the day of tribulation in the book of Revelation. Again, Jeremiah is talking about Israel returning to God through a great time of tribulation, so this cannot be talking about the Church, but the Jewish people.
Day can mean day, or period of time. For example – Now is the day of salvation refers to a period of time. For us, the last 2000yrs is the day of salvation where salvation is freely available.
Quote: Roger Price The phrase ‘The day of the Lord’ is the day the Lord will intervene in the earth’s history to first judge and God forsaking and Christ forsaking world and secondly, to deal with His people Israel.
Who was Jacob?
Jacobs other name was Israel, and he was the father of 12 sons who themselves were the fathers of the tribes of Israel. Here therefore he is talking about a time specifically for the Jewish nation, yet they will be saved from it. They will realise they have lost the blessing of the Lord their God and they will turn back to Him.
God uses this period of tribulation to bring the nation Israel back to Himself.
Jeremiah 30:8 (ESV)
8“And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
Price said “we see that Israel turn again to God and come into the blessings and promises from Gods covenant with Abraham. The church again if never mentioned. This is a period relating to the Jewish nation and to the world.”
Daniel 12:1 (ESV)
1“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
Similarities are again the scripture is talking about Israel, a time of trouble (Tribulation) never seen before and Gods people being delivered.
Malachi 3:2-4 (ESV)
2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
Who are the sons of Levi if they are not the church, they are the priests for the nations. God purifies the priesthood because He is going to get them into action again for what lays ahead. Definite reference again to Israel, the church not mentioned, the Jewish people mentioned everywhere.
Some try to spiritualise things and say that Jacob is the church and Levi refers to believers, (but that doesn’t explain how Jesus is the Priest after the order of Melchizedek). So those who believe Jacob is the church must believe that the church will go through the tribulation, but neither Daniel or Jeremiah or Isaiah or Malachi ever mention the church; only the Jewish people.
Let’s assume those who believe Jacob is the church are correct. You end up with the heresy of purgatory, because what it would mean is that even though Christ paid for our sins, we still have to suffer. Not only that, but Christ who is our righteousness and who makes us blameless and acceptable before God still needs to add suffering in order to purify us as though Christ’s blood was not enough, so the church will have to go through the tribulation before being purified. That doesn’t add up.
It is heresy because to make us pure, Jesus was put to death and we are sanctified and made pure in Him.
Romans 5:8–9 (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
So to say the church must go through the tribulation to be purified denies that we are already justified by His blood and spared His wrath.
99% of Church is already now with God; they did not need additional purification, but to say the tribulation is for the church, it would mean that the last 1% of the church will have to go through the tribulation in order to be made pure.
It’s like saying the people who belong to God who have died, Christ’s blood was sufficient to purify them, but for the rest, His blood is not enough.
Some say the church has to go through the tribulation to be prepared for the Bridegroom.
It’s like preparing your bride for marriage and telling her that she has to go to fight the war in Vietnam where she will be battered and bruised and bleeding, but once she has taken her beating she can walk down the aisle with her bride.
Hebrews 10:12-14 (ESV)
12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Similarities from the OT in the Gospel of Matthew
Tribulation in the last days
Matthew 24:29 (ESV)
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Tribulation never seen in the earth before
Matthew 24:21 (ESV)
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
Talking about the Jewish nation
Matthew 24:5 (ESV)
5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.
Matthew 24:24 (ESV)
24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.Gentiles knew nothing about the Messiah and were not looking for a messiah, only the Jews were waiting for the messiah.
Matthew 24:20 (ESV)
2 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.
A part of the Sabbath law is that Jews cannot go very far, so if the day comes on the Sabbath, the Jews cannot flee very far (Driving is not permitted on the Sabbath). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_on_Shabbat_in_Jewish_law
The church however does not keep the Sabbath, so it wouldn’t make a different to the church to flee, so this prayer is not aimed at the church.
Matthew 24:16 (ESV)
16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Matthew 24:15 (ESV)
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
The holy place is the temple, yet for the church, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so again, this is not referring to the church.
This verse shows that there will be a time the temple will be rebuilt, however, (one for further study to open up) the anti-christ after 3 and a half years will place himself as an idol in the temple. This was something armies would do when they have taken land, they would rededicate the temples and place their idols in the most holy places as well as at the pinnacle of the building. The same will happen after the temple has been rebuilt in Jerusalem. This is the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.