By Nathan Jones
What are the prophetic wars that likely precede the Tribulation?
On July 30, 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'll survey the events within the Great Tribulation. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
Purposes for the Tribulation
Nathan: With this terrible time coming to the world, we have to remember that God has His purposes. The first purpose is to punish the sins of the world. God can't let injustice continue on forever. God promises throughout the Bible that He will finally deal with sin during the Tribulation.
The second purpose for the Tribulation is that God wants believers in Him. God wants people to finally come to Jesus in repentance seeking salvation, both Jew and Gentile.
The third purpose for the Tribulation is for Jesus to come back and set up His kingdom of peace, righteousness and justice that will last a thousand years.
Vic: Are there other end time wars that may or may not be part of the Tribulation?
Nathan: Israel will have endured two major prophetic wars before the Antichrist makes his peace covenant with Israel as we read in Daniel 9. One of the major prophetic wars is a Psalm 83 War. Israel will eventually have to conquer their surrounding hostile neighbors – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and Egypt. People today even are wondering if all that fighting between Israel and Gaza right now and possibly Lebanon opening up as a second front will accelerate into the Psalm 83 War.
Israel will win a Psalm 83 War because we know those hostile neighbors do not participate in the second major prophetic war. The second war involves Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and a number of other Islamic nations. They will come against Israel as Ezekiel 38 and 39 describes. That war is called the Gog and Magog War. What's so amazing about that war is how God steps in and directly defends Israel. God destroys both those nations and their armies. So, picture before the Tribulation even begins that Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya and Islam itself will no longer be a player entering into the Tribulation. We're talking about a radical change in how the world functions geopolitically.
Vic: There are some who are teaching that the Tribulation is not even really going to happen. They believer we're already in the Kingdom Age, right, Nathan? What a mistake that is!
Nathan: Yes, we're certainly not living in the Kingdom Age. The idea that we're living in Jesus' Millennial Kingdom which is characterized as a time of peace, righteousness and justice, well, all I can exclaim is, "Say what? Have you even turned on the news?" You'd have to know that type of thinking is crazy if you've read the Bible.
People who believe we're living in the Millennial Kingdom now don’t interpret the Bible literally. They spiritualize everything they've read. They'll say, "The Millennial Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom the Bible is talking about." Certainly, there is an aspect to the Church as a spiritual kingdom, but the Bible is very explicit on the details of Bible prophecy and the end times. You can read in Revelation and in other places in the Bible about these Tribulation judgments and know for sure that we are not living in the Millennial Kingdom. We're not even living in the Tribulation now. The Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom haven't happened yet.
Vic: That's an excellent point! That's why we want to encourage anyone who is scared that Christians of the Church Age will have to suffer under God's wrath during the Tribulation. That's never been the case.
We are talking about the Great Tribulation – an incredible event yet to occur. It may be in the future, but we need to prepare ourselves for now by asking Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and so we can be part of the Rapture.
In the fourth part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Great Tribulation, we'll survey how God evangelizes during the Tribulation.