By Nathan Jones
What are the three main purposes for the coming Tribulation?
On July 23, 2014, I was interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we discuss the differences between the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
A Remnant of Israel Saved
Nathan: This Tribulation time of judgment has three purposes.
In the last chapter of Amos, he talks about the Day of the Lord, which is this time of judgment coming upon the earth. We read in Jeremiah 30:7 the first purpose, that it's going to be a time of great distress for Israel. For the last 2,000 years, God's focus has pretty much been on Gentiles coming to know Jesus as Savior through the activities of missionaries through the Church, but God isn't done with Israel. He has a redemptive plan for them, which is why He's regathered them back into the land of Israel. It's amazing that after 1,900 years of the Jews being in exile, Israel is a nation once again.
Vic: Yes, that's so amazing!
Nathan: A nation coming back from the dead after centuries has never happened before. You don't see the Hittites coming back and restarting their country, or the American Indians creating their own nations again outside of the reservation. But, when Israel happens to be brought back into their land, it means something. They are still important. Jesus in Matthew 24 said that when we see Israel brought back together as a nation again, then the Tribulation will come.
Vic: That's amazing! We know that Lamb & Lion Ministries' founder, Dr. David Reagan, has a great love for Israel. In one of your conferences you talked about the many pilgrimages that you and he have made to Israel so that people could see the truth of this great miracle happening there. I think you mentioned something like six million Jews have returned to the land since 1948?
Nathan: Yes, there's about 12.5 million Jews worldwide, and now half of them live in Israel. The fact of the matter is interesting, because Zechariah prophesied again and again that Israel would be the center of the world's attention and that people would be consumed with who gets to control Jerusalem. All you have to do is turn on the news and everything's about Israel. It's Israel this or Israel that, and of course right now Israel is having to deal with Gaza.
The fact that Gaza is sort of recognized as a nation once again plays into Bible prophecy, because Psalm 83 prophesies that Israel will have to subdue there hostile neighbors such as Gaza. Maybe that's what's happening in Gaza right now with Operation Protective Edge. Maybe this conflict is the beginning of that Psalm 83 War the Bible prophesied would happen right before the Tribulation.
It's just incredible that we're seeing all these things that the Bible prophesied coming true in our day. And so, we know the Tribulation is about bringing the Jews to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. A third of the Jewish people who will have survived the Tribulation will come to know Jesus as their Savior.
During the Tribulation, many Gentiles from every tribe, tongue, nation and people the Bible says will accept Jesus as their Savior as well.
Vic: That's why you mentioned that Bible prophecy is not all about doom and gloom. God has a wonderful plan for the nation of Israel, and we read that salvation is going to come and the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out upon them one day soon.
Nathan: Yes, but the Church won't be here to witness it, because we'll be raptured off this earth before that happens. God, though, afterwards brings to salvation 144,000 Jewish evangelists. They go out across the earth along with a messenger angel to share the Gospel throughout the entire world.
Prepping the World for Christ's Reign
Nathan: The second purpose of the Tribulation is a judgment on the world. Revelation tells of 21 judgments that will befall this world during that time. They'll devastate the economic, the social, the ecological and the human population. God uses these disasters also to bring people down to their knees where they'll finally accept Jesus as Savior.
During the Tribulation people will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He wants to rescue people's souls for eternity. So, as terrible as the Tribulation sounds, sometimes that suffering is what it takes to turn people's hearts. Sometimes God just has to bring people to their knees before they'll finally relent and surrender and give their lives to Jesus Christ.
The third purpose for the Tribulation is for Jesus to return and defeat evil and set up His kingdom.
Vic: That's why we're telling people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ today, so they won't have to suffer the Tribulation, right?
Nathan: Right. The Rapture of the Church is an imminent event, which means it could happen at any moment. After that, if you're unsaved, then you're left behind. You'll then have to endure the Tribulation. You'll see the Antichrist, who is this one-world ruler who'll arise out of Europe. He'll make a peace treaty with Israel. Then you'll know you're living in the Tribulation.
In the fourth part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Great Tribulation, we'll see what the Antichrist causes to start the worst time in human history.