Prophecy – Part 89 – The Church is Delivered From the Hour of Testing – God’s Wrath
Today we will be reviewing some topics that we have looked at before. However, there is still some confusion about the wrath of God in the Tribulation Age and who will actually be involved. So, we will review some important points like:
- The Church Is Delivered from the hour of Testing.
- The Church is saved from God’s Wrath.
- The Church’s Rapture Explains the “Sudden Apostasy.”
And if we have air time we will explore some other related topics.
So, let’s begin today’s study with a quick review of the ministry of the 144,000 (Jewish Evangelists) of the Tribulation Age. Also, we will look at the ministry of the Two Witnesses During the Second Half of the Tribulation Age and then move into the above thoughts about who is involved.
- The message “the gospel of the kingdom,” (Matthew 24:14).
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:12-14, KJV).
Note: Even though some believe that no one will be saved during the Tribulation Age, passages like Matthew 24:14 makes it plain that there will be people saved during the Tribulation Age. Also, combining the doctrine of election with Matthew 24:14 you will have a stronger case for folks getting saved.
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8, KJV).
Now let’s consider some other important truths concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom. Christ tells us that His gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom. What Kingdom? The Kingdom of God that is spiritual and eternal (Matthew 19:23-24).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST: Accordingly as he hath chosen us in him BEFORE the foundation of the world, that we should be HOLY and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:3-5).
FACT: The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is UNSTOPPABLE: “This gospel of the kingdom SHALL BE PREACHED.” No amount of trouble and failure can stop it from being preached: neither severed persecution (Matthew 24:9), nor terrible apostasy (v. 10), nor many false teachers (v 11), nor multiplied lawlessness (v. 12), nor the love of many growing cold (v. 12). God’s glorious Word of Grace shall force its way over land and sea, no matter the strength of the storms and bodies that oppose it.
His gospel shall be triumphant: “This gospel…shall be preached IN ALL THE WORLD.” Amazingly, in just a brief span of time during the first century, the gospel was evidently carried to all parts of the known world.
“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into ALL THE EARTH, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18, KJV).
“(…the gospel) which is come unto you, as it is in ALL THE WORLD;” (Colossians 1:6, KJV).
“The gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to EVERY creature which is UNDER HEAVEN;” (Colossians 1:23 KJV).
The very tone of Christ’s words points to the same sign of world evangelism toward the end of the world. The uttermost part of the earth shall be privileged to hear the gospel before the final appearance of Christ (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 24:3, 14 with Matthew 28:19.
Next, see Acts 8:12; 28:23, 28, 30-31 for examples of preaching the Kingdom. His gospel is a witness: “This gospel…shall be preached…for a witness unto ALL nations” (Revelation 14:6). The gospel as a witness MEANS AT LEAST TWO THINGS.
1. The gospel is a witness, proclaiming the truth and the will of God for man.
NOTE 8 THINGS:
- The Gospel reveals the truth about man and his world.
- The Gospel tells man where he has come from, why he is here and where he is going.
- The Gospel tells man what he has done.
- The Gospel tells what he is doing.
- The Gospel tells what he should do.
- The Gospel tells man why he is as he is.
- The Gospel tells why he does what he does.
- The Gospel tells why he should do as God says.
2. The gospel is a witness, bearing record either for man or against man.
- The gospel is called a record.
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:11-12).
- The gospel also is a witness for man, that he believes and is saved; or it witnesses against a man, that he does not believe and is damned and on his way to hell.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
NOTE: THIS IS INTERESTING:
The end shall come when, and only when the gospel has been preached in all the world. The term “the end” refers to both the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world.
NOTE: As Scripture states, the gospel had been preached to all the known world right before the fall of Jerusalem (Romans 10:18; Colossians 1:6, 23), and the Gospel shall be preached to the uttermost part of the earth before the end time (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20).
However, something needs to be noted that is sometimes overlooked. Christ does not say the gospel shall convert the world, but rather the gospel shall be preached to the world before the end comes.
All the world will not respond to the gospel, but all the world shall hear the gospel. Christ does, however, give some indication of the results to expect from preaching the gospel.
“…many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16; 22:14, NKJV).
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24, KJV).
“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8, KJV)?
Now let’s review a topic that causes many people problems.
THE CHURCH IS DELIVERED FROM THE HOUR OF TESTING
God promised to keep the church from the “hour of trial” (that is the Tribulation). John wrote to the faithful church of Philadelphia: “since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also “KEEP” you FROM the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (Revelation 3:10, NIV).
God did not say He would keep the church THROUGH the Tribulation, as some such as Ladd would argue, but FROM it. Also, notice the word KEEP – one can hardly be kept from something he is enduring.
NOTE: This is also supported by the use of EK in the verses unrelated to the Tribulation. When the New Testament believers are asked to keep themselves “from” offensive practices (Acts 15:29), they clearly are not to participate at all (James 5:20).
Even a favorite Post-tribulation text – John 17:15, in which Jesus says, “My prayer is not that you [the Father] take them [believers] out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one” – supports a Pre-tribulation Rapture, involving removal from THE WORLD SYSTEM, as believers are transferred from Satan’s domain to Christ’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13; I John 5:18).
In addition, the word HOUR supports Pre-tribulation, since the only way to be kept from a section of time, such as an HOUR, is not to go through any of it.
NOTE: The promise is not merely to keep them from TRIALS but also from the TIME in which the trial occurs.
Believers cannot be kept from part of the hour, as with Mid-tribulation or the Pre-wrath view or none of the hour as with Post-tribulation period. The only way to be kept from an hour is not to be in any part of the hour.
THE CHURCH IS SAVED FROM GOD’S WRATH
Just after speaking of the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:16-17), Paul encourages the Thessalonians with these words:
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:9 NIV).
And “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who rescues us from the coming WRATH” (I Thessalonians 1:10, NIV).
As shown before, both halves of the Tribulation are characterized by God’s wrath, which persistently intensifies; Daniel considered the whole “seventieth week” (of seven years) as part of the Day of the Lord, a day of wrath (Daniel 12:1, 7; 9:24).
NOTE: God’s wrath cannot be separated from man’s wrath; God’s wrath is often delivered through human and natural instruments, like wars, famine, and death.
Further, the famine mentioned in the third seal (Revelation 6:5-6) is not totally man’s wrath.
Also, the fourth seal (v. 8) speaks of famine and the sword, both of which are part of God’s wrath according to the background verse in Ezekiel (14:19); the Hebrew word for FURY is HEMA, which means “anger” or “wrath” (Isaiah 13:6,9; Ezekiel 38:18-19).
Finally, even the unsaved under the sixth seal recognize the judgment as the “wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:15-16). Salvation (deliverance) from God’s wrath in I Thessalonians 5:9 means deliverance from the whole Tribulation period.
As we close this study we want to challenge each one of us to think about being a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have seen in our study how the 144,000 Jews are apparently a special body of Jewish believers who are DEDICATED to SERVE the Lord Jesus Christ totally and wholly during the tribulation of the last days. What an example for us who are living in the age of Grace, an age which is nothing like the Tribulation Age when Christians are running for their lives all over the world.
In the Age of Grace [today] it is so easy to serve the Lord Jesus Christ…..but there seems to be so few real Christians who are willing to go anywhere or do anything that the Lord wants done.
God’s desire for His people are to be SERVANTS and serving Him, twenty-four, seven. How do we know this? Read the Gospel messages from Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8 and it is undeniable.
Also listen to Colossians 3:1-4: “IF ye then be RISEN WITH Christ (truly saved), SEEK those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your AFFECTION on THINGS ABOVE, NOT on things on the earth.
Good question: Why?
Answer: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life, SHALL APPEAR, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossian 3:1-4, emphasis added)
Wow, what an exciting future the truly saved person has. But that is not all; for today, if you are truly saved listen to Romans 8:28 and Philippians 4:13, 19.
“And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
“But God shall supply ALL your NEED according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19).
How do you acquire these awesome blessings? Here’s how:
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE” (John 3:16).
So, have you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior? He loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him. You can if you want to, it’s up to you. Salvation is a “FREE GIFT FROM GOD”. Why would you reject something so wonderful as spending eternity in heaven?
Listen to Paul in Romans 10:9-13:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference the Jew and Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD SHALL BE SAVED”.