By Nathan Jones
What is the overall purpose of the Tribulation?
To answer that question, Dr. David Reagan and I on our television program Christ in Prophecy put together a panel of Bible prophecy experts. We invited Al Gist of the Bible prophecy ministry Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries from Louisiana and Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries which focuses on evangelizing the continent of Africa.
Purpose of the Era
Al Gist: I see two major purposes for the Tribulation. Primarily, God is going to use it to bring a remnant of the Jewish people to a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. God told Daniel way back in Daniel 9:24 that there were six reasons why He was going to do this. God defined 490 years over where He was going to deal with Daniel's people, the Jewish people. The last seven of those 490 years is still futuristic. It's that time period that we call Daniel's Seventieth Week, or better known as the Tribulation. So, the Tribulation is dealing with Daniel's people. That's something that we Christians need to remember. The Tribulation really has nothing to do with the Church. It's not at all about the Church and it's not for the Church. The Church isn't going to even be here on earth during that time. We are going to be in Heaven when the Tribulation takes place. Thank God!
If you look at those six reasons, the way I would summarize it is like this. God is going to bring the Jewish people to the end of themselves. They in a moment of final desperation, just before final annihilation, are going to turn to the Lord Jesus. They're going to cry out to Yeshua their true Messiah and He's going to come and save that remnant that survives the Tribulation. From the standpoint of the Jewish people, the purpose of the Tribulation is that God is going to bring a remnant of them into salvation.
Dr. Reagan: In fact, that's the purpose of His gathering the Jewish people in unbelief right now from all over the world. The world then can focus and come together against Israel so that they can be hammered to the point that they will finally receive Yeshua as their Messiah.
Al Gist: As long as people think that everything is going okay with them, they believe they've got their life under control. They'll proclaim, "Lord, I don't really need you. I can take care of myself." God allows people to go in that direction. But, when life gets hard, and when tribulation, persecution and difficulties come to people, then they want to turn to God. It's sad that it's that way, but that's just human nature.
I think that the Jewish people will be a perfect picture of redemption at the end of the Tribulation, because they will have been so persecuted and so hurt that finally — finally — they as a people will turn in mass to God and say, "Lord, help us! We can't save ourselves. We need you."
That's really what people need to say every day, even today. We can't save ourselves. Lord, we need you.
Dr. Reagan: Jesus Himself said that He would not return until the Jewish people were willing to say, "Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai," which means "blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
In the third segment of our forum on the Tribulation, we'll ask our Bible prophecy experts if there are there any purposes for the Gentile nations during the Tribulation.